Talk:List of unusual deaths/Archive 5

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Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6

Joseph Fourier

My edit summary was a bit off; Fourier tripped on the blanket. But tripping and falling down stairs still is not unusual. --JeffJ (talk) 15:29, 13 March 2011 (UTC)


My edit earlier today (*456/455 BC: The playwright Aeschylus is believed to have been killed in Gela (a town in Sicily) when an eagle or vulture dropped a live tortoise on him, apparently mistaking his bald head for a stone upon which to break the animal's shell.) was reverted because it's "A discreditted tale" according to User:JeffJ. I'd like to ask: by whom is it discredited? It's clearly far-fetched and, if true, unusual and noteworthy; but there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the section "Many of these stories are likely to be apocryphal". Of course it's difficult if not downright impossible to source stories that happened nearly 2500 years ago, but that doesn't mean that it's not true. In addition, it's a good story in its own right and appears in the main Aeschylus Wikipedia article. Please reinstate forthwith. (talk) 19:16, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

The removal of this entry has been previously discussed. Please see the Talk Page archives. --JeffJ (talk) 20:25, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Planking death

It might be the first balcony fall by someone "planking", but balcony falls caused by stupid stunts happen all the time. Planking was just another dumb stunt. Do we really want to open this list to every balcony fall if the original action can be argued as unusual?--JeffJ (talk) 20:32, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, potentially, as long as it's sufficiently unusual in an interesting way. Whether "planking" makes it over the bar is, I agree, close - but I think it's worth a shot; perhaps planking will rise to a level of notoriety that makes this notabe, and perhaps it will fade and this will be suitable for junking. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 00:56, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
There actually might be enough material for a List of Stupid Stunt Deaths. ;-) --JeffJ (talk) 19:18, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

ironic death

would this be a good page to put in an ironic death? a guy gets killed in a motorcycling accident while riding in protest of helmet law [1] (talk) 22:18, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

In general, deaths for common reasons (e.g., motorcycle wreck) that draw attention because they're ironic have not been included on this page, but you can always give it a shot. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 23:30, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

For your consideration

"Farmer run over by plane after falling asleep on runway" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:25, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Henry Hall

Recently, user Kairotic added an entry for Henry Hall which claims he died as a result of swallowing molten lead. This entry does not cite references, and the only reference on Hall's page is a book citation which may or may not discuss his cause of death. Can anyone provide a reliable source which confirms the cause of death? Trut-h-urts man (talk) 03:26, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

The citation problems with the Henry Hall article do not call into question the veracity of the event--certainly not enough to bar their inclusion on the unusual deaths page without any direct knowledge of the source actually cited by the article. I'm assuming goodwill, of course, but Trut-h-urts uncritical editing seems a case of itchy revert trigger-finger.
Here is a published, firsthand account of Henry Hall's death from 1775:
--Kairotic (talk) 06:10, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Delayed killing

What about the story of the woman who was accidentally shot in the knee by her son while he was cleaning a gun, then doctors decided not to remove the bullet and she dies 14 years later of lead poisoning? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Might be worth consideration. Do you have any references? --JeffJ (talk) 05:43, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Shannon Stone

If Shannon Stone can't be on this list, then Frank Hayes, Alexander Woollcott, Christine Chubbuck, and Tommy Cooper should not be either. Who cares if they're celebrities? Their deaths were just like Stone's: they were common deaths, but at unusual times and places. -- (talk)

A poor argument. People die from falls from stands frequently. In fact, there have been 22 fall-related fatalities at major league baseball parks alone since 1969. You can read more about the ballpark deaths in the book Death at the Ballpark. And if we were to research other sports, other countries, etc... --JeffJ (talk) 05:41, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
You are missing my point. I can see the argument that dying from a fall at a park can be omitted, but then I'm still not convinced that Frank Hayes, Alexander Woollcott, Christine Chubbuck, and Tommy Cooper, among others, should be on the list in that case. Shannon Stone died a common death--and so did they. -- (talk)
1943: Critic Alexander Woollcott suffered a fatal heart attack during an on-air discussion about Adolf Hitler. - Somewhat unusual to die on the air, and status enhanced by his celebrity, so fit's the article's criteria. 1974: Christine Chubbuck, an American television news reporter, committed suicide during a live broadcast on July 15. - Another prominent person whose death is even more unusual in that it's the only entry in which the person commits suicide during the live broadcast of their own show. 1984: Tommy Cooper, British comedian, died of a heart attack while performing during a live TV broadcast... - Again, a prominent person dying in an unusual manner. The deaths don't have to be unique (i.e. one of a kind), just unusual. Shannon is just one of 22 people who have fallen to their death in the last 42 years alone, and that's narrowing it down to major league baseball parks only. I'm sure if we included the minor leagues, world leagues, etc. and expanded to cover other sports we would have a massive number of entries. That the others should be omitted because Shannon's death wasn't unusual is, to put it politely, a real stretch. --JeffJ (talk) 16:11, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
Well then, what about the 14-year-old girl who was killed at Worlds of Fun in 1995? Hundreds of people have died in amusement park accidents. I mean, just look at these:
-- (talk)
Are you saying that you are abandoning your "Shannon" argument and would now like to establish editor consensus on the 1995 Cedar Fair parks incident?--JeffJ (talk) 06:03, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
No. All I'm saying is that since hundreds of people have died in amusement park accidents, whereas 22 people have died from falls at MLB parks, should Shannon Stone be added, or should the 14-year-old girl be removed? And it looks like the choice was to remove the 14-year-old girl. -- (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 15:20, 9 August 2011 (UTC).

I guess the argument would that the circumstances - she deliberately removed the restraints and was climbing around - justify the inclusion. But I think I agree with you; it's not that different. So I'm removing it! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 22:37, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Alan Turing

Is suicide by eating a poisoned apple unusual enough? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:54, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

It was never concluded that the apple was poison, only that he died of cyanide poisoning and an apple was found nearby. Everything beyond that was speculation. --JeffJ (talk) 03:31, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

1984: Joseph Schexnider

hm... does this kind of thing happen on a daily basis in Canada or why would you say it is not unusual? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 07:09, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

As the edit summary said, this entry did not have any information about cause or circumstances of death. This article is about unusual deaths, not unusual resting places. If you have some information on how he died (e.g. He fell out of a tree and into the chimney where he died), then you might have an entry. I say "might" because people die in chimneys often enough that it's not considered unusual, so the circumstances have to set it apart (e.g. He fell out of a tree...). From the information you provided it's possible (however unlikely) that he was murdered in a very mundane way and his body was hidden in the chimney later, making him a candidate instead for List of unusual resting places. --JeffJ (talk) 16:45, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I see. I didn't want to make the explanation too long lest the list gets too crowded. So the report (see source in article history) goes that he went into the chimney not knowing that he bottom only had a small hole, and then no-one heard him or noticed him. I think that's unusual, but... if you really know of so many cases where people climb into chimneys and die, then I stand corrected. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 19:40, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
This Google search brings up lots of examples. --JeffJ (talk) 16:42, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

1961: Richard C. Legg

Re: 1961: Richard C. Legg died after a SL-1 nuclear reactor in Idaho...: Aside from the overall debate on the unusualness, we don't need to include the peripheral casualties. This list has several deaths where others were also killed, but lacked the uniqueness of the main subject(s). E.g. 1794: John Kendrick, 1920: Dan Andersson, 2008: Isaiah Otieno. --JeffJ (talk) 16:44, 25 August 2011 (UTC)

The original contributor wrote
1961: Three U.S. military cadre died of wounds received when the SL-1 nuclear reactor in Idaho went prompt critical and exploded, including Richard C. Legg, who was impaled to the ceiling as the reactor vessel jumped 9 feet 1 inch (2.77 m). Legg's body would hang for six days before being cut down due to the high radiation fields surrounding it. The official cause of the explosion was the manual withdrawal of the central control rod during maintenance. The man who pulled the control rod too far, John Byrnes, had received a call from his wife 2 hours earlier to request a divorce. Rumors circulated that Byrnes had deliberately killed himself and Legg due to rivalry and marital difficulties.[90][91]
which you reverted with edit summary "Dying from a nuclear reactor incident is not unusual". (The original contributor then re-reverted with "Rarely does someone die impaled by parts of an exploding reactor that they were standing on".) You trimmed (I believe over-trimmed) the item to
1961: Richard C. Legg died after a SL-1 nuclear reactor in Idaho went prompt critical and exploded. Legg's impaled body would hang for six days from the ceiling before being cut down because of high radiation levels.[90][91]
with edit summary "Removed superfluous information. I still don't think dying from a nuclear incident is unusual. I'm sure others had interesting things happen in their circumstances". I expanded the item slightly with edit summary "add some facts - no need to totally eviscerate this item", to
1961: Richard C. Legg and two other military cadre died after a SL-1 nuclear reactor in Idaho that Legg had been kneeling atop went prompt critical and exploded. Legg's impaled body would hang for six days from the ceiling before being cut down because of high radiation levels.[90][91]
Now you insist on striking the phrase "and two other military cadre", calling them "peripheral casualties". This short phrase adds information without grossly expanding the item, which remains at two lines on most screens, and is an important fact considering that one of the two other casualties was suspected of deliberately causing the explosion. I don't have a great deal of additional time to pursue this issue further with someone who might have some ownership issues. I suggest we get a third opinion, then we both leave the item alone. --CliffC (talk) 21:25, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Okay. --JeffJ (talk) 04:21, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
In regards to the edit summary "suggest you "keep the list brief' by focusing on another item, this is only a two-liner. There is no "main article" for Legg and it is worthy of mention that two others died", SL-1 is the main article with full details of the accident and other deaths. --JeffJ (talk) 15:03, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Here are my two cents: Over the year I have virtually always removed items/details from this article because of the desperate need to keep it from exploding in size. But in this case, I think JeffJ might have gone very slightly overboard, and that it wouldn't hurt to keep in the phrase "and two other military cadre". It's not necessary, but it doesn't hurt. (That's a firm statement of opinion, eh?) - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:19, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Original contributor's 2 cents I agree that the original contribution was lengthy and needed trimming... and I do appreciate the attempt. I might have (duh, obviously) made even the trimmed version longer. I think the point is that this particular death of three people has tons of unusual tidbits... the most common trivia up until this decade has been the bland fact that the three men were "buried in lead-lined" caskets/coffins (A Google search for these will demonstrate the oft-quoted phrase).

But the unusual details of the death of these people are extensive, from the cause of the accident to the mechanism which killed them, to the autopsy that severed body parts (only a recently declassified tidbit), to the burial of highly radioactive body parts as radioactive waste, to the retrieval of the bodies by emergency workers, to the brief survival of one man, to the transportation of the bodies, the decontamination of the bodies, the funerals, the love-triangle rumors, suicide rumors, etc. Again, not too many people have been cut into parts and buried as radioactive waste in the Idaho dessert, and I think Mr. Legg's death (along with his 2 fellow cadremen) deserves some notoriety worthy of a footnote at least.

I think a guiding principle of each description of a notable death would be for it to epitomize that "footnote in history" — neither too brief nor encumbered by voluminous details. This is my first attempt to add to this interesting article about a subject which I am very familiar with, so pardon my long-windedness. I like to saw logs! (talk) 02:11, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

It's definitely an interesting story (I've been reading the main article and reference material), but we need to restrict ourselves to the unusual death here. I am still of two minds on the unusualness; There have been many deaths from nuclear reactor incidents, and being impaled certainly isn't unusual. I understand that being impaled as a result of a nuclear incident is unusual, but are we then to include others that are "unusual" combinations, say for example, decapitated, crushed, etc. in a similar type of incident? It's a tough call sometimes. And Legg was arguably killed by the explosion, as were the others, and the impalement was a post-mortem situation. We've removed several entries that spoke more to an unusual post-mortem situation than an unusual death. The image of Legg's body hanging from the ceiling for 6 days is chilling and definitely invokes a certain morbid fascination, but is it unusual for the purposes of this list? --JeffJ (talk) 15:42, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Well, radiation has killed a few people when nuclear reactors were in their death throes - generally going prompt critical. This happened on a Soviet submarine that was being refueled. It also happened in the Manhattan Project -style experiments with the Demon Core. The unusual circumstance with Legg is that there was no intention to mess with fuel or to start up the reactor plant. They simply were supposed to hook up the equipment used to mechanically start up the reactor, pulled too hard, and... whoops we just killed ourselves... due to a curious thing called "water hammer" which is the underlying cause of the trauma that killed the men and caused the reactor vessel to jump 9 feet in the air. In other words, the radiation of the excursion was immense, but the trauma was more causitive in their death.

I don't happen to know of others who have been killed by the physical destruction of a nuclear power plant, very few of which have been physically destroyed. The BORAX-I reactor (also in Idaho) had been destroyed in the manner of SL-1, but it was done on purpose and no one died as a result. In fact, those are the only 2 reactor vessels to my knowledge that have ever been destroyed catastrophically... as the Chernobyl had no vessel containment, and the TMI and Fukushima Daiichi accidents were slow meltdowns due to heat.

The other thing is that so many lessons were learned from SL-1, that it is unlikely that some of the mistakes will ever be repeated. For example, on the water hammer situation... the IDO-19313 report, at has a summary of things to never forget towards the end. "IMPLICATIONS OF THE SL-1 INCIDENT ON FUTURE REACTOR PLANT DESIGN AND OPERATION." This is the gospel on how present nuclear reactors are designed and the procedures used. One of the lessons is that while a plant is shutdown, the vessel SHALL BE FILLED with water all the way to the top to prevent water hammer. See page 150. And so Mr. Legg did not die in vain: the SL-1 tragedy should not be repeated... and it hasn't in at least 50 years. So very few of the situations present at SL-1 will ever exist again, and therefore the death was unusual. It completely changed the mentality of the AEC and the military's nuclear programs. I like to saw logs! (talk) 21:54, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

If I understand your argument, Legg's death is unusual if we consider (and better express) his death to have been caused by water hammer, instead of the overall nuclear incident with a trailing mention of the water hammer. If the entry was tweaked that way, then I believe we could report that all three cadremen were killed by the water hammer. The main article speaks to steam and water (ostensibly as a result of the water hammer) knocking 2 of the men onto the floor and pinning Legg to the ceiling, so all three were killed in roughly the same manner. It's morbidly fascinating that Legg's body remained pinned to the ceiling for 6 days (and for that gets individual attention in the entry), but it isn't a necessary detail since it's a postmortem issue. --JeffJ (talk) 15:35, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

Olga Moskalyova

While being eaten alive by bears may not be all that unusual, giving a running account on your cell phone of your own impending death in three separate calls under such circumstances almost certainly is. kencf0618 (talk) 00:08, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

There are two issues for me: First, I would say that there have been enough incidents of final phone calls to render this as not unusual. Cellphones are such a common piece of technology that several of these types of calls have been reported over the years. And being killed by a bear is relatively common, at least for the purposes of this article. The second issue I have is that the story only seems to have been covered in tabloids, primarily the UK's Daily Mail. Other tabloids have reported the story but with the lead line "The Daily Mail reported...". A search brought up no Russian news agencies reporting the event, nor any more international sources (eg: Reuters, API, etc.). I'm no expert, but from what I've read about bears, if it's "toying" with you you're taking a savage beating/clawing/mauling and would have a hard time talking on a phone. I'm not dismissing the story completely; I'm just concerned that there might be some tabloid sensationalism at work here. But, back to my key points: Final calls from the dying are no longer unusual, and bear attacks are relatively common. It's a chilling story, but we should avoid trying to over-unusualize (yes, I just made that word up now) otherwise we risk making the scope of the article too broad (eg: Hit by a car while walking backward, had a heart attack while yodelling, etc.).
Having mulled through that last line of thought, I'm wondering if there aren't a few existing entries that should be culled from the list, such as "1983: American author Tennessee Williams died when he choked on an eye-drop bottle-cap". Does the fact that it was an eye-drop bottle cap make it more unusual than any other "celebrity" that's choked to death?--JeffJ (talk) 16:00, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Addendum: Court hears woman's dying moans..., woman's phone calls..., and then there's the cell phone calls made from United 93 and the World Trade Centre during 9/11. --JeffJ (talk) 16:33, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Boy, making decisions about what goes into this article could be a full-time job. Or maybe a Ph.D. thesis ... - DavidWBrooks (talk) 16:14, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

1998 October: team killed by lightning

The source linked for this event states it can't be officially confirmed, yet it still makes the list? So is this just a list of rumored unusual deaths or actual unusual deaths? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:42, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

There was media coverage of the incident. The source doesn't say it can't be confirmed, only that the BBC was unable to get an official confirmation from the government because of the ongoing war with rebels.--JeffJ (talk) 17:04, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
Still no official confirmation. It is an unsubstantiated rumor. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:15, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
I added another reference. I trust it will assuage your fears. --JeffJ (talk) 17:18, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
The second reference also states no official confirmation. Still just an unsubstantiated rumor. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
True, but confirmation from government sources is not necessary, only that entries provide reputable sources such as from main-stream media. Reports from two major news sources (I.e. BBC News and Guardian News) elevates the entry above "unsubstantiated rumour". --JeffJ (talk) 17:45, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
Not when they both reference the same unverifiable report. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

Fairly Common Decapitation


Hi Jeff. I was surprised to learn my entry of the heart surgeon being decapitated by a flying disc was an example of a fairly common death. I've looked around for examples, but couldn't find any -- plenty of decapitations from the result of crashes and the like, but nothing resembling what happened here. Do you have links you could share? Thanks Skeeelz (talk) 05:01, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

You'll have to be more specific. I only vaguely recall this specific edit. And it's a good idea to discuss an article's edit on the article's Talk Page instead of an editor's Talk Page so other editors can contribute. --JeffJ (talk) 04:26, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
Sure. Easy enough to find in the history. You said it was a fairly common death. I'm unable to find examples backing that statement up. Here's the entry:
2002: Dr. Denis Tyras, one of the foremost heart surgeons in the U.S. at the time, was decapitated while driving on the Long Island Expressway to a hospital in Manhattan. A 13-inch metal disc, thought to be the base of a leg used to stabilize a construction crane, fell off a truck traveling in the opposite direction, bounced off the road and, traveling at a speed of about 100 mph, flew Frisbee-like through the windshield of the doctor's car.[2] (Skeeelz (talk) 02:09, 17 October 2011 (UTC))
Death by flying debris through the windshield is very common. A Google search comes up with many examples. You might argue that it's the decapitation that makes it unusual, but then we would have to include several other similar deaths where the point of impact differs. I.e.: Tire iron in the eye, lug-nut in the throat, metal fragment in the chest, etc. Each might be unique or "unusual" because of the unique object or unique mechanism of injury, but overall the deaths are not unusual for the purpose of this list. --JeffJ (talk) 11:31, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

1884: Richard Parker, The Mignonette, Cannibalism, and Edgar Allan Poe

I made an entry on the article page for the death of Richard Parker in 1884. This case is about murder, which is common, and cannibalism, but what makes it both unusual, interesting, and relevant to this page is its connection to Edgar Allan Poe and his 1838 fictitious novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Poe pretty much predicts the 1884 case of the cabin boy RIchard Parker and The Mignonette before it happened. Understandably, RIchard Parker was a common name then but it is eerie how both the real Richard Parker and the fictitious RIchard, were both cabin boys aboard a doomed ship, were both murdered, and were both cannibalized by their shipmates. It is probably an odd coincidence but I believe it is valid. What do you think? — Preceding unsigned comment added by ChocolateStrawberries (talkcontribs) 23:42, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

I think the Edgar Allen Poe connection makes this death sufficiently unusual to warrant a place on this list. I understand the points that murder on a stranded ship is not an unusual cause of death, but unusualness for this list is often determined by looking at the surrounding circumstances, like the Poe connection here. Verkhovensky (talk) 00:56, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

A couple of suggestions

Apologise if this has been discussed already, but what about Timothy Treadwell? Yes, people get killed by bears every year, but I'd say the circumstances of his death (which led to a film being made) were sufficiently unusual to support him being added to the list. I'd also suggest Christopher McCandless being added for similar reasons. Robofish (talk) 00:05, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Both were listed but removed. A film was made about Treadwell, but probably more because of the sensationalism of the audio tape. The death itself was not unusual, as innumerable people have been killed by bears in North America alone. We also have the cases of Michio Hoshino and Vitaly Nikolayenko who were separately killed while photographing bears. So three similar deaths without really looking. A more unusual set of bear attacks/deaths can be found at Sankebetsu brown bear incident. As for McCandless's death: Lots of people die in the wilderness. McCandless was unusually stupid, but his death was fairly common. He gained some celebrity when his demise was chronicled, but he was not a "prominent person" (for the purposes of this article) when he died.--JeffJ (talk) 07:53, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Execution by Molten Metal

The Babylonian Talmud] speaks to this method of execution. The book A Comparative Analysis of Capital Punishment: Statutes, Policies ... also refers to the method: "...until the individual opened his mouth and molten lead was poured down his throat..." Gold or silver was often substituted for the execution of the wealthy or powerful, but it is essentially a standard form of execution of the post-biblical era into the Middle Ages. More can be read here: that speaks to the common use of molten metal. Aa cited example here: about gold used on a Spanish Governor in 1599. And at Archive of Early American Images you'll find a depiction of natives pouring molten gold down the throats of several Spaniards, probably including the Spanish Governor I mentioned. So death by molten metal poured down one's throat was a common practice. The use of gold was less common, but not infrequent, based on a quick Google search. I anticipate that the argument will be made that the use of gold was unusual, but I would counter that the death was not. The use of gold instead of lead did not alter the circumstance or mechanism of death. It's the same argument that excludes the myriad of industrial accident deaths from the list. Death at work from a machine is not unusual regardless of the particular machine: Chocolate mixer, metal stamper, automatic rice-picker, etc. If we rely solely on that which delivers the mechanism of death, then we get into a massive list including various makes and models of cars, types of knives, ropes, buildings/bridges/etc. people jumped/fell/were pushed off of, the kind of oven they put their head in, the type of sports equipment they were bludgeoned with, the chemical blend in the lethal injection, and so on. Let me offer one more example for the other side of the coin: Molten lead down the throat was VERY common when used as a form of execution, but molten lead down the throat as in the case of Henry Hall (lighthouse keeper) offers a very unusual circumstance, hence his inclusion. --JeffJ (talk) 06:34, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Is inclusion in this list based in some way on unexpectedness? In which case, all types of state-arranged execution should be excluded anyway, no matter how rare or elaborate? Are unusual accidents inherently more unusual than unusual murders (and suicides)? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:35, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
I would say that unexpectedness goes hand-in-hand with the unusual in that it's typically unexpected that something unusual will happen, particularly if it causes someone's death. If it was expected, it is often prevented and never occurs. As for accidents vs. deliberate acts; each is unusual per its own merits. There is no scale of unusualness based on whether the event was deliberate or accidental. I hope that helps. --JeffJ (talk) 15:36, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Layout/ format

Should events in the same year be sub-ordered by time in that year, or alphabetically, or some other way? Should a constent date format be used and if so which one? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 23:08, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Is having a heart attack after falling off a horse unusual?

First, dying of a heart attack after a fall is not unusual. A Google search brings up many hits, with victims of all ages falling from all kinds of things. Second, I'm concerned that this fits the same mould as "unusual" industrial accidents; Drowning in chocolate, ground into sausage, and so on. Or the "unusualness" of the particular metal poured down someone's throat. Heart attacks are common. Falling off horses is common. Having argued all that, Kinnear didn't fall and have a heart attack on camera as the entry implied. He fell and broke his pelvis and was taken to hospital. Kinnear, a heavy man, suffered a heart attack in the hospital the next day. Dying of a heart attack while lying in a hospital bed is definitely not unusual. --JeffJ (talk) 02:01, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

A fat man has a fall, is taken to hospital, and subsequently dies of a heart attack. That's not unusual at all -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 12:30, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
A well-known actor has a fall while riding a horse as part of a feature film because the stunt-man failed to turn up, and dies as a result. That's very unusual. Grutness...wha? 02:01, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
It's the death itself that needs to be unusual, not the string of coincidences surrounding it or the profession of the victim. If we went with that approach, every death is unique - "He was a chiropodist who was hit by a bus, while wearing odd socks, walking backwards, and smoking a pipe - that doesn't happen every day". -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 02:18, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Wearing odd socks?!?!?! We should definitely include it! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 17:38, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Okay, if yopu say so. No point in arguing with someone being flippant anyway. Grutness...wha? 00:33, 3 January 2012 (UTC)"
In what way was my explanation "flippant"? --JeffJ (talk) 16:37, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
I suspect the problem is my flippant add-on, which contributed nothing useful. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 18:31, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh, Okay. The comment was "attached" to mine so I though he/she thought I was being flippant, which I can be at times. --JeffJ (talk) 19:05, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd assumed it was my example that was seen as flippant - but reductio ad absurdum is a respectable form of argument -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:12, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Should this page exist?

This whole page is entirely subjective, suffers from ineradicable POV problems, and appears set to expand to an unmanageable size. Must there be a "list of unusual deaths", or should they merely be mentioned on the articles about the persons involved? Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty | Averted crashes 00:35, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree with you about the inherently subjective nature of the list and that we shouldn't have subjective articles such as this. But the place to discuss this question is WP:AFD, not a RfC. Since the article has been kept at multiple AfD's in the past, I doubt that another one would be worth the effort. Wikipedia is weird about the inclusion of trivial "just for fun" lists... ThemFromSpace 01:31, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
The merits of this article have been discussed before. Rather than a copy/paste, take a look at the archives. --JeffJ (talk) 02:51, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure some of the material in the archived discussions is very relevant. But the issue is not one of "delete of not delete." In most developed countries, certainly in UK, surely there are safety statistics that show how rare certain death events really are? Or would use of these constitute WP:OR? The addition of automobile deaths seem to be particularly popular, but also seem to be particularly intractable. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:33, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
The issue comes down to whether the death was unusual. For example, being decapitated by a sheet of metal is unusual, but not for the purposes of this article, because we cannot breakdown every death into its minutia and differentiate between individual objects that cause the death. Otherwise we start filling the article with motorist deaths from sheet metal, bolts, fire extinguishers, wheel hubs, etc. This is the same rational discussed above with industrial accidents. Inclusion is often subjective, but we strive for editor consensus and we try to maintain a strict standard for sourcing each entry. Safety stats from a reliable source are not original research, and can help editors reach consensus. --JeffJ (talk) 16:49, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
"Unusual" is not something that can be measured on an objective scale. Trying to find something numerical that can be used as a "keep or not" guide is hopeless. This page will always be a collection of subjective opinions by fallible humans.
Lots and lots of people over the years have been frustrated by that fact, as the six (six!) AfD attempts have demonstrated. But lots and lots of people over the years have found the page worthwhile enough to keep despite its inherent flaws, as the AfD debates demonstrate. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 17:32, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I am confusing infrequency with novelty (= "unusualness")? I'm sure that, in most cases, reference to national statistics would indeed be hopeless, because they do not carry enough detail/ granularoty. But I was thinking of this example (prompted by the source given for Linda Riojas (1978), now deleted). Let's say that Ms Riojas' death was not unusal, because it's "Not unusual to be killed by stuff falling off other vehicles". But if we knew that there were on average 200 road miles driven in cars in the USA every week, would the same accident suffered by a motorcyclist be deemed more unusual if we also knew that, on average, there were only 20 road miles ridden by cyclists every week? What of bicycles, unicycles, skateboards, rollerskates, etc etc. Or is any reference to statistical frequency just a waste of time? Martinevans123 (talk) 18:40, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Personally I think it's hopeless, largely for practical reasons. Even if a killed-by-stuff-from-other-vehicles is very, very rare in terms of miles-driven, it happens perhaps once every week somewhere in the US. Are we going to add 52 new items to this article every year about it, just from America? No, of course not.
"Novelty" is a good word for how to think about it. The circumstances of the death should be virtually unique in history due to some twist, so to speak, to be included. But that's an inherently subjective standard, I think. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:20, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
..perhaps .. somewhere .. virtually .. so to speak .. and I used to think that music articles were subjective! haha. I guess all we have got to go on here is consensus. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:32, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
It is subjective, but with guidelines. Nobody's ever set specific parameters for unusualness, such as X-number of occurrences in a given period of time, but we do consider how many entries would be added if the uniqueness bar is lowered. DavidWBrooks and I have made the point about breaking down an event too finely until all events become unique or unusual. That's the tricky part. On its broadest scale, being murdered is nowhere near to being unusual, nor is drowning, but being murdered by someone who forces you to swim until you drown is unusual. Now if this happened, say, 100 times, it's still very unusual statistically considering all the drowning deaths throughout history, but we wouldn't add 100 entries. We 'might' add one of the hundred if it stood apart... like if the victim was a celebrity or the victim hired someone to prevent him from getting out of the pool as a way of committing suicide. It's a very fine line sometimes, but that's what consensus is for. And who says Wikipedia can't be fun?--JeffJ (talk) 21:37, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
(I have previously asked about the relative unusualness of murder compared with accidental death. I'm not sure the answer was clear. But hey, who says mortality statistics can't be fun!? (.. um plenty, I suspect)). Martinevans123 (talk) 22:17, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree that this is a trivial just for fun list. While it is interesting, it's premise is a bit like the "Darwin Awards". It more trivia than encyclopedic. Elmmapleoakpine (talk) 00:10, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

This is a good excuse to mention (again, sorry) one of my favorite bits of Wikipedia history: This article was created in 2004 as List of people who died with tortoises on their heads because of the story that Aeschylus ws killed when an eagle dropped a tortoise on him. I deleted it, thinking it was a joke (article deletion was a lot more casual back then) but the creator returned it. The result was the first AfD debate about this weird little piece, and its morphing into this article. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:20, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Should this article only have entries where the secondary sources call the manner of death unusual? Perhaps. Or, should this article merely have reliable sources to document the unusual death? This second approach moves us away from the ideal Wikipedia article. Is this article of interest to many Wikipedia readers? I think so. I found it interesting. Wikipedia serves its readers by helping them think. I found this list quite thought inspiring. A Wikipedia guideline when other guidelines fail is "break the rules." If Wikipedia's interests are well-served and a consensus of editors agree, then it stands as part of Wikipedia's ways. Wikipedia is not like a regular encyclopedia in certain ways; such as allowing anyone to edit and input their ideas into the process. drs (talk) 16:30, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
There are deaths that notable and influential people have considered unusual, such as the one I added to this page which a certain editor keeps removing because in his personal opinion it's not unusual enough. I think this page should stay if there's good documentation of unusual claims. Shii (tock) 00:52, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
My argument is that "personal opinion" is the essence of this page, for better or worse - that there is no objective documentation, standard, or measurement that can label a death "unusual" or not unusual. It will always be subjective decisions by editors. If you want to discuss your particular case, do so here, and see if others want to contribute to the consensus. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 02:26, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I have precisely proven that it is not "only" personal opinion by providing reliable sources. I can see why you would want to remove that if you are arguing that there is no such thing as a reliable and citable cultural indication of whether a death is unusual. Shii (tock) 03:55, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
First, calling another editor, who is acting in good faith, "a twit" is not appropriate behaviour. As for sources referring to Henry I's death as unusual, it's subjective to the authors. What the editors of this article might consider unusual is going to be vastly different from biographer's definition. We're writing a global article on a broad spectrum of deaths; the historian, presumably, is writing about King Henry. We also don't know the context. For example: Does the historian think food poisoning an unusual death for British monarchs? Is food poisoning from eels unusual? And in what time period is the historian writing? A writer in 1920 might well describe dying in a plane crash as an "unusual" death, but not today. If Henry had died from over-eating, rather than food-poisoning, then we could make a case for inclusion, as that might be an unusual death (a quick Google didn't turn up anyone recorded as eating to death). --JeffJ (talk) 17:22, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
(Yes, it would have been very unusual, as I'm sure eels are banned, even on Virgin Atlantic). Martinevans123 (talk) 17:59, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
And here I was thinking Henry II of France's death was far more "unusual". He died from a splinter of a broken lance entering his helmet visor during a joust at his daughter's wedding party, and his opponent in the list was the captain of his own personal guard. It's an incident that may well have helped end the "sport of kings" and is well heeded by medieval combat reenactors today. Wilhelm Meis (Quatsch!) 11:56, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
.. they must get very wet and dirty, acting in reens? How do you get a horse in there anyway! Martinevans123 (talk) 12:16, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I almost forgot, I actually came here to ask about notability guidelines. Should inclusion be restricted to those cases where either the subject or the incident has an existing article? There is probably an answer somewhere in the archives, but I'm not a very avid fisherman. Maybe some sort of inclusion guidelines should be left up top where they are accessible to all right here on the talk page. Wilhelm Meis (Quatsch!) 12:01, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
.. not a good fisherman, eh? A bit like Bandō Mitsugorō VIII? But yes, I have often pondered that as well. But then I guessed that if an unusual death was the only notable thing about a person then this should prevent them ever having their own article (- see the note at top of this article about coverage)? Martinevans123 (talk) 12:16, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
No, more like Dave Rundall, captain of the Arctic Rose. Wilhelm Meis (Quatsch!) 00:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Gosh, haha. I see what you mean. How tragic Martinevans123 (talk) 13:25, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

*Oppose The list shouldn't exist in its current form. A list of unusual deaths for notable people would be fine. Or perhaps a list of notably bizarre deaths could survive (e.g. with substantial media coverage).Gsonnenf (talk) 22:42, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

*Support The list should continue in its current form. The unusual deaths of notable people are an acceptable price to pay for the truly notable bizarre deaths of unknowns. (For me this wiki-Aladdin's cave should have cases with as little media coverage as possible - in fact, global media coverage might be a very good reason for exclusion. Apologies for the deliberately contrary stance). Martinevans123 (talk) 23:14, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Comment. The list will not be deleted as a result of a !vote here - it would need to be taken to WP:AFD -- Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 23:17, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Henry I of England

I have provided two reliable sources that this death is unusual; it is now up to you to provide two or more claiming that it is not unusual. I can't wait to hear Wikipedians explain how their opinions are more important than those of Hume. Shii (tock) 15:18, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Is that how we are doing it now? Gigs (talk) 15:27, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't know how else to judge this in an objective way. That Henry I's entry has been removed repeatedly is unbelievable to me. I mean, this is one of the hallmarks of English history, and its notability is beyond dispute; I encourage the dissenters to pick up a copy of 1066 and All That. Shii (tock) 15:33, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I suspect the fact that Henry was "peculiarly fond of" lampreys is more unusual than the fact that he died from food poisoning after eating them. The "surfeit" adds a little archaic unusualness all of its own, but just means "too many". What are the statistics on the relative hygiene risks of different aquatic species? Maybe we need to know! Nevertheless, if a source is WP:RS then surely it can support any claim of unusualness? Martinevans123 (talk) 15:44, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
People die from food poisoning literally every day. If that's unusual, then we have a lot of work to do on this list.. --SubSeven (talk) 19:25, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
But they don't get to be King of England and have their death described as "unusual" by popular paperback historians? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:29, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I've made this point before. Unusual in what context? In what era where the historians writing? Was eating the eels unusual? Was dying of food poisoning unusual for monarchs? This might be a great candidate for List of Unusual Monarch Deaths, but for the purpose of this article, food poisoning is extremely common.--JeffJ (talk) 22:43, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you have. Being a monarch lowers the bar, surely. But I too am not sure that it lowers it enough. Martinevans123 (talk) 23:02, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I checked the "two reliable sources" (really just one) and Henry's death appears as a footnote: "They killed Henry I of England: -- "a food (says Hume gravely,) which always agreed better with his palate than his constitution.". The footnote simply clarifies Moore's use of "the regicide Lampreys". So neither Hume or Moore ever express (in this source) that the death is unusual. The editor/compiler of Moore's work simply footnotes an obscure reference and includes a quote from Hume. Actually, neither Hume or Moore express any sort of opinion on the death whatsoever, unusual or otherwise. --JeffJ (talk) 23:06, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I just read the Wikipedia entry on "1066 and All That" (linked above) and it does mention Henry I: "The death of Henry I from "a surfeit of palfreys" (recorded in other historical works as a "surfeit of lampreys") (Chapter XIII) proves to be a paradigmatic case of the deaths of later monarchs through a surfeit of over-eating or other causes." If I'm interpreting this correctly, according to "1066 and All That", Henry's death was a part of a pattern of deaths from over-eating that befell several monarchs. So if dissenters pick up a copy pf "1066 and All That" they might learn that Henry's death wasn't unusual, even for monarchs. --JeffJ (talk) 23:35, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
If they have no sense of humor, then yes. Are these three sources insufficient because they don't actually say the word "unusual", even though all three are clearly referring to the death as an unusual event? What are the requirements for a sufficient source? Shii (tock) 23:43, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't know how to make it clearer. 1066 and All That actually implies that Henry's death was anything but unusual and your other "sources" don't comment on the death at all. Because you think that means they thought his death was unusual, it doesn't make it so.--JeffJ (talk) 01:25, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
"If they have no sense of humor, then yes." I stand by my statement Shii (tock) 03:59, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm, dissenters, eh? Whatever next. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:42, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Still waiting for the first source that even hints at unusualness. People die of food poisoning all the time, and considering advances in food preparation, it was surely even more common 1,000 years ago. --SubSeven (talk) 17:54, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
(So what about greedy Jules? Does irony get a look in?) Martinevans123 (talk) 18:43, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Timothy Treadwell

Copy and Paste from above:

Both were listed but removed. A film was made about Treadwell, but probably more because of the sensationalism of the audio tape. The death itself was not unusual, as innumerable people have been killed by bears in North America alone. We also have the cases of Michio Hoshino and Vitaly Nikolayenko who were separately killed while photographing bears. So three similar deaths without really looking. A more unusual set of bear attacks/deaths can be found at Sankebetsu brown bear incident. As for McCandless's death: Lots of people die in the wilderness. McCandless was unusually stupid, but his death was fairly common. He gained some celebrity when his demise was chronicled, but he was not a "prominent person" (for the purposes of this article) when he died.--JeffJ (talk) 06:41, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

I should clarify this. "This list also includes less rare, though still unusual, deaths of prominent people." should be interpreted as the the subject was already prominent in life, not that he/she became prominent because of the attention their death received. --JeffJ (talk) 06:46, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Budd Dwyer

A man kills himself with a single revolver shot to the head. Pretty unusual, huh? (talk) 07:27, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Don't forget the "during a televised press conference" aspect of it. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 14:05, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Indeed; "during a televised press conference" certainly meets the "unique or extremely rare circumstances of death" criterion. I've noticed a recent tendency of editors to misunderstand this list as if it were List of unusual causes of death; but it's not. Drowned? Not unusual. Drowned by a swan? Yes, that's unusual. TJRC (talk) 17:33, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Airborne big mammals

At least two people in the list have been killed by arborne big mammals (one cow and one bear) launched by a vehicle previously hitting the animal. Can such event be considered unusual if it happened twice in a few years?--Pere prlpz (talk) 12:13, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

I say yes, these are still unusual. Here is my reasoning: Take the orbit of a comet. Just because sometimes it seems there are lots of comet sightings clustered, it could still be the case that comet sightings are unusual. What if the next airborne large mammal doesn't strike for 40 or 95 years? When we get a third airborne mammal kill, we will at least have somewhat of a pattern. And if we are still editing the Wikipedia in 40 years, we will be glad to know that mammals flying through the air (unaided by airfoils of course) are rarely fatal to passing motorists and that this list is acceptably growing at a reasonable and rational rate. I am prepared to wait that long. I like to saw logs! (talk) 04:57, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Choking on food to death is not unusual. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:27, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Founding fathers

An ip editor added this: [1] which said: "1826: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, each a Founding Father of the American Revolution, both died on July 4th, 1826, exactly fifty years to the day after the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence. Adam's last words were, "Thomas Jefferson survives"."

Jefferson's death was "from a combination of illnesses and conditions including uremia, severe diarrhea, and pneumonia." He died a few hours before John Adams. We are not told the cause of Adams' death. But the causes are not the issue here. Is this coincidence of these two deaths in any way mathematically significant? If not, could there be any circumstances that would be? Or does this article deliberately exclude the "coincidental" times of deaths of more than one person, who are related in some other way? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:10, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Two deleted entries

Erica Marshall got deleted by an editor under the reasoning that oxygen exploding is an urban legend. However, the entry is sourced[2] and this presumably happened, so what's the deal?

Second, Michael Anderson Godwin got deleted without explanation, but likely because of the wording used in the original entry, which sort of implied that Godwin deserved it for having evaded the death penalty. However, a priori the incident still seems unusual, since he got electrocuted while repairing a TV because he was sitting naked on a metal toilet at the same time (had he been dressed it wouldn't have happened, not to mention if the toilet was of any other material as it is far more common). Of course, I suppose that the likelihood of having one's broken TV and toilet in the same room increases when you are in prison, but still.--Menah the Great (talk) 20:53, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Well, since there has not been objections I'll put both back. Erica Marshall's death is also reminiscent of the deaths of astronauts in flash fires caused in hyperbaric chambers - and the flash fire article does describe them as a type of explosion, even if not one with the most typical results.--Menah the Great (talk) 17:34, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Could death by snu snu be considered unusual?

Is this a regular occurrence or can it be added to this list? (talk) 16:34, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Gouverneur Morris

Just realized he is no longer in the list. Why?--Menah the Great (talk) 01:22, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Nevermind, he is in the 19th century, not the 18th as I misremembered.--Menah the Great (talk) 12:55, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Fail WP:IINFO and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists

This article blatantly fails "The contents of an article that is a stand-alone list should be clear. If the title does not already clarify what the list includes, then the list's lead section should do so. Don't leave readers confused over the list's inclusion criteria or have editors guessing what may be added to the list." and always will. Why is is still here? -- The Red Pen of Doom 20:44, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

Did you see [3]? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:08, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out. And i see nothing in there that suggests why this article meets the criteria for having a stand alone article. Is there something somewhere that does? -- The Red Pen of Doom 21:13, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
I've never yet found it. The last suggestion was that the question should be taken to WP:AFD. Which may lead to a sad loss, of course, as it's quite interesting to discuss exactly what "unusual" means in this context. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:17, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
So is this article a totally lost cause? Or can it just be weeded and trimmed into oblivion? Martinevans123 (talk) 21:45, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
There would need to be some criteria determined for which there is an objective measurement. I dont see how "unusual" could ever be non-subjective. -- The Red Pen of Doom 21:50, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Would it not make more sense to try and agree those criteria first? Could you at least discuss whether or not notability of the subject, by means of a Wikipedia article, adds justification for inclusion?? Thanks Martinevans123 (talk) 21:53, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
It's just deletion by the back door, without the balls to take it to AfD. Pathetic. 8-( Andy Dingley (talk) 22:02, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Lets stick to discussing content not contributors. -- The Red Pen of Doom 00:54, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Discussion about inclusion criteria

OK, then what are some suggestions for inclusion criteria that are not entirely subjective? I would suggest at minimum the reliable source should actually describe the death as "unusual". -- The Red Pen of Doom 00:54, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

another recommendation is that there is one standard. not "the death must be unusual - BUT if the person is kinda famous, then the death doesnt need to be THAT unusual, just kinda weird." -- The Red Pen of Doom 01:43, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
There are entire TV shows (1000 Ways to Die) devoted to the topic, so this article will survive AfD. A number of users have curated the list over the years, and the consensus is as follows: If the death is listed/featured in well-researched secondary source of unusual deaths, that's a shoe-in. If the death is called unusual by a single secondary source, we debate it here. If the source is primary or unreliable, it should not be included (this usually happens shortly after a death). Abductive (reasoning) 03:07, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
A TV show doesnt hodl water that it will survive. I agree with RPD, this is pure POV/OR/Synthesis (take your pick). Should be redirected/deletedLihaas (talk) 07:28, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I guess "unusual" is not really a good word for encyclopedias to use, is it. But would you bin all of these too? Maybe we need to add that "{humor}" banner at the top? Martinevans123 (talk) 10:47, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
There is no way you will get this deleted in an AfD, there are print sources that compile freak deaths Strange Deaths: More than 375 Freakish Fatalities, 101 Crazy Ways to Die. Abductive (reasoning) 23:10, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
and the disucssion is now about how to attempt to get the article to comply with the various policies and guideines. Specifically now the MOS that states that the inclusion criteria need to be specified so that any reader or editor is clear about what items may be included in the list and what may not be included in the list. Do you have any recommendations about how to create clear inclusion criteria? Are you suggesting that the inclusion criteria is: that the event appears in a "book about weird deaths"? -- The Red Pen of Doom 23:41, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
In my opinion, a death must be discussed in multiple secondary sources to make this list. If you check the first book I gave above, you'll see that he lists mundane industrial accidents, such as being killed by a mixing machine. So an entry on Wikipedia's list must reflect the consensus of sources. Abductive (reasoning) 00:12, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
The suggested criterion seems to be that the event appears in a number of "books about weird deaths"? Having to use several books would combat the persistent problem of the appearnace here of news stories the same day they ae published. But restricting sources to books seems a little too restrictive and old-fashioned. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:28, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Proposal: The unusually rare or unique circumstances surrounding the events listed here have been noted by multiple sources discussing unusual deaths. -- The Red Pen of Doom 16:59, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
That looks like a fair proposal. Except that the more unusual a death is, the less likely it may be to appear in an WP:RS. Also - how does this have to "noted" in the source? - do the words "unusually rare or unique" have to be used? As Dominus Vobisdu pointed out, many rare or unique deaths may be repored in scholarly medical journals where one would never expect to see the words "unusually", "rare" or "unqiue". One might see such words in a paper in epidemiology, but even there you'd be more likely to see a numercial estimate of probability per population. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:50, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

discussion regarding suitability as a stand alone article

Actually, I don't see how this article could survive AfD. It's just a trivia magnet. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 01:02, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

It has survived six (I think) AfDs, so apparently your opinion is not universal. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 01:05, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
It's been three and a half years since the last AfD. The fact that it was put up for AfD six times means that my opinion is at least pretty darn common. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 01:10, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Consensus is to keep it. Please note that I usually take a very dim view of articles in deletion discussions. Abductive (reasoning) 01:35, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Why not have a quick straw poll here to guage how much support there is to keep or AfD? Martinevans123 (talk) 09:33, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Actually, that would be redundant because that's what an AfD is for. Abductive's state that "consensus is to keep it" is not justified without a recent AfD. I can't see any valid objection to any editor starting an AfD at will, provided that it is justified and in good faith. Valid reasons for deleting the article have been brought forth. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 09:40, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
The either AfD it, or stop saying that it "should" be at AfD. Andy Dingley (talk) 09:50, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Actually, it might save some wasted effort. It might be a little biased, as thsoe ediotrs who watch this page are more likely to want to keep it. But you could also argue that editors who don't watch it don't really care. Either way, the view that it "should be at AfD" is no justification for "trimming it into shape" to meet the inclusion criteria, when those criteria have been agreed to be lacking or confusing. Indeed, the two arguments are contradictory. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:02, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
The entries seem to be well-sourced, and there are very few I might argue against retaining, as nearly all the items are certainly "unusual". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:08, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree. But, Unfortunately, we don't have an agreed objective wikipedia measure of what "unusual" means in this context. I think that's the main problem. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:11, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
We have several other potential issues to get out of the way too:
  • Does each death need a linked article?
No, this is not a requirement for lists
  • Does each death need to meet WP:N?
No, this is not a requirement for lists (list yes, individual entries no)
  • Does each entry require sourcing in this list?
No, this is not a requirement for lists. Where there is a linked article, sourcing in that article is generally accepted as adequate.
Then the meaning of "Unusual deaths"
  • Death. Survival counts against this, even if remarkable. I think we can just about make an exception for anyone "clinically dead" (with fairly strong evidence), but making a miraculous recovery afterwards.
  • Unusual means "Out of the usual". This could be for any one of several reasons. The examples here are not prescriptive.
  • An unusual accident or manner of death: death by safety equipment (not just falling off a fire escape in a dangerous situation, but Thomas Midgley, Jr. qualifies), Houdini, Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee, death by falling tortoise, death by toxic carpet fumes.
  • Deaths that are spectacular and unusual accidents. Boston molasses or London beer floods. Pompeii and Herculaneum. Lake Nyos. It is not unusual for someone in a molasses flood to drown, but it is unusual for there to be a molasses flood.
  • Sporting deaths(?) The Le Mans tragedy, the Farnborough Airshow tragedy. IMHO not Parry Thomas - racing drivers get themselves killed all too frequently, but possibly Tom Barrett, because it changed the rules afterwards.
  • Novel deaths. Mary Ward, who was the first road traffic victim of a powered vehicle. Common today, but in 1869 she was the first.
  • Jan Palach. Protest by public self-immolation is not usual in the West.
  • Executions. Any form of "cruel and unusual (capital) punishment" is certainly "unusual". So hanging is out, but roasting in brazen bulls is in. The first electric chair might qualify. So might Gary Gilmore, as the first resumption of execution.
  • Slapstick and gallows humour. Let's be honest here - we're here for the grim comedy of it. So Garry Hoy and Betty Stobbs are in.
There are many meanings of "unusual" and IMHO this article just doesn't have a problem with listcruft. There are very few here I can see that don't make a substantial claim to being "unusual", and that's all that we really need for it to be an "unusual death". Andy Dingley (talk) 10:45, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
If you have time, check the debates on some of the old AFDs; these issues, especially the frustrating inability to encase "unusual" within objective parameters, have been chewed over repeatedly - although I don't remember as entertaining and interesting a list as User:Andy Dingley's. And check out this article's most intriguing quirk: its original title. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 10:57, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, will do. The sort of removal I have difficulty with is when, for (fictitious) example, someone in a wedding dress, who has broken a leg while stilt-walking across the Hoover Dam, then drowns after being attacked by a giant red swan, and an editor removes with the edit summary "death by drowning not unusual". Well, yes, that's true. But death-by-heart-stopping-and-no-breathing is not unusual, as it happens..... it's kind of missing the point. It's sometimes hard to judge how much of the contributing circumstance should be considered. (ahh.... those halcyon "tortoise days"... ) Martinevans123 (talk) 11:13, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Point of order: The claim that WP:V/ citations are not required for LIST articles is completely wrong. WP:CIRCULAR and WP:V make no exceptions for LIST articles and the Wikipedia:Source_list#Listed_items clearly states: "Lists, whether they are embedded lists or stand-alone lists, are encyclopedic content as are paragraphs and articles, and they are equally subject to Wikipedia's content policies such as Verifiability, No original research, Neutral point of view, and others." and "Difficult or contentious subjects for which the definition of the topic itself is disputed should be discussed on the talk page in order to attain consensus and to ensure that each item to be included on the list is adequately referenced". -- The Red Pen of Doom 13:44, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
"Point of order" Ah, the mating cry of the barrack-room wikilawyer.
No-one is disputing WP:V. However if sources are already on the linked article, there's very little benefit to duplicating them. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:47, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Except that pesky thing called policy. -- The Red Pen of Doom 13:53, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. So what's the best (collaborative) approach here? 1. copy a source across, if one exists or, if there is none, find one; 2. add a {cn} tag; 3. hastily delete the whole item as "unsourced"? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:52, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
So what's the best (collaborative) approach here that follows policy and helps to improve Wikipedia? If it is unsourced and fails the general reading of the existing "criteria"- then a speedy removal is of benefit to the project to discourge the article from becoming even more of a dumping ground of non-encyclopedic trivia. -- The Red Pen of Doom 16:06, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Which "general reading" of the "criteria" is that? Are they criteria or just labels on a bean-can? Martinevans123 (talk) 16:25, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
The general reading at this time would be "unique or extremely rare circumstances of death " and so the circumstances would indeed need to be "unique or extremely rare" -- The Red Pen of Doom 16:35, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
It is not so urgent to remove this content that it justifies pissing off every other editor working on the same page. You've also misunderstood WP:BEANS.
None of these entries are BLPs. None of the disputed content I've seen has been about any credible issue over facts, merely inclusion criteria. A simplistic absolutist purge for accuracy just isn't necessary here. Work collaboratively. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:04, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
William IV of England was recently deleted, but apparently for the wrong reason. The edit summary was "broken bones do not cause pneumonia". Maybe the editor should read that article? I would have also removed it, but because the death was not caused by a mole. Or was it? Perhaps a good example of the difficulty in deciding when "chance events" have stopped and "causal events" have begun? Or is this just too deep a philosphical question to raise here? And quite unnecessary, of course, if we are reliant on multiple "unusual sources". Martinevans123 (talk) 18:14, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I think you meant this William William III of England. And the reason was "exceptional claims require exceptional sources. The statement said that the pneumonia was caused by a broken collar bone. And when I check the article I see "Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes.[1] Infectious agents include: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites" - no mention of broken bones. And when I look at the edit of the content removed, not only was there no exceptional source to support the claim, there was no source. -- The Red Pen of Doom 18:55, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
William III is certainly justified. If his death (and its cause) is celebrated by a particular toast to this day, then that's a notable death. Andy Dingley (talk) 19:29, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I meant that William, thanks. Your edit summary said "broken bones do not cause pneumonia" and his article says "In 1702, William died of pneumonia, a complication from a broken collarbone following a fall from his horse, Sorrel." If that article is wrong, or if the source is "not exceptional", perhaps we should correct it? But, you're quite right, it was added here with no source. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:19, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Inclusion conditions: "unique or extremely rare circumstances of death "

As well as "unique or extremely rare circumstances of death " (which I'd broadly agree with) I'd add that novelty might be an additional reason. Mary Ward was the first "car accident", which is novel and unusual at its time, but not today. I would contend that this, and similar, deaths might be included. First (non-lightning) electrocution, first railway accident, first aircrash might be others. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:07, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

I would broadly agree with that. The last death to have occurred by certain means, e.g. hanging, could also be regarded as in some way unusual, but probably not as unusual (especially if preceded by countless instances). Martinevans123 (talk) 17:34, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
There is a discussion about inclusion criteria Talk:List_of_unusual_deaths#Discussion_about_inclusion_criteria or is this different? -- The Red Pen of Doom 17:36, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
The problem you're running up against here is that "unique or extremely rare circumstances of death" are dime a dozen. "Unusual" deaths are exceedingly common. For example, I worked ER for ten years, during which time I saw many deaths that were unusual, even extraordinary. A baby killed by her drunken mother's boyfriend by being tumbled to death in a clothes drier, a motorcyclist that was thrown from his bike and ended up impaled on a garden gnome, a boy trapped in a train car during a heat wave, an innocent bystander shot by a stray bullet from a gang altercation six blocks away, an obese individual killed by maggots that had taken up residence in a wound and had perforated his colon, the first case of Hanta virus outside of the Southwest, a police officer shot by his crazy wife (not unusual so far, unfortunately) where the bullet entered the heel and came out the right eye, malaria (not unusual) in the rural Midwest (extremely unusual, and still unsolved) and even one case that won a Darwin Award. That's just from a ten year period at two hospitals, one urban, one rural, in the Midwest.
You would have to have extremely stringent notability criteria to manage a list like this. Multiple references in peer-reviewed scholarly sources would be an absolute minimum, but even then, the number of potential entries would be in the high thousands, and criteria as lax as you are proposing would increase that to millions. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 18:34, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Well we've never had millions yet, I don't think. But that's a very good point. Which "peer-reviewed scholarly sources" were you thinking of? Not The New England Journal of Wierd and Crazy Deaths, I suspect. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:13, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
No. Just with the New England Journal of Medicine, I could compile a list of 100 "unique or extremely rare" deaths with great ease without having to dig back very far into the archives.
I mean real scholarly biographies or histories published by real scholars in real academic sources that substantially discuss the death and report it as extraordinary. And with those, only if multiple sources exist that are independent of each other, and not derivative. Even with those standards, you would end up with a list of thousands.
Popular journalism and pop literature are, of course, out because the the standards for inclusion are extremely low. Especially "news of the weird" type reporting.
Another way to look at this is this: if you asked 1000 trained scholars to independentlycompile a list of what they consider the 100 most unusual deaths in history based solely on research using primary sources they themselves search out, I highly doubt whether many, if any, of the cases they discuss would appear on more that 10 of the lists compiled. The total number of cases cited would probably be on the order of 9800.
For this list to be if any encyclopedic utility, it does have to be of limited size, say, 100 deaths or so. Much more over that, and you run into the paradox of unique and rare deaths becomming, common as dirt.
"Unusual" and "unique or extremely rare" as used by you and Andy is simply a synonym for "interesting" and "entertaining". I don't get any sense of "encyclopedic" from it. Several of the deaths I've personally seen would qualify for the list under your standards, as they have been covered by reliable journalistic sources on more than a local scale. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 19:41, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't doubt that those journals will cover very many deaths which have unique circumstances, whether or not they involve some kind of pre-existing "illness". At the moment the principal source of new material for this article is the kind of local news report, often sketchy, that gets picked up by the "Wacky News" column in YahaooNews, or whatever, and typically gets filtered out as not that unusual. The issue of "notablity" in terms of public awareness seems to be wholly at odds with the kind of academic rigour that your are proposing. But maybe your approach is the only sensible way to go? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:11, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Do those types of sources even consider utilizing such categorization/nomenclature as "unsusual"? -- The Red Pen of Doom 20:29, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I assume you are asking Dominus Vobisdu that question, not me, yes? But I was thinking exactly the same. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:34, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

(unindent)For this list to be if any encyclopedic utility, it does have to be of limited size, say, 100 deaths or so. ... "Unusual" and "unique or extremely rare" as used by you and Andy is simply a synonym for "interesting" and "entertaining". I don't get any sense of "encyclopedic" from it.

The above quote, by User:Dominus Vobisdu, is at the heart of the years and years (and years) of debate about this article: Can a list that hangs on a vague term like "unusual" really be "encyclopedic"? The problem is that there's no obvious definition of "encyclopedic" beyond "something I think should be in an encyclopedia". What makes it harder is that Wikipedia isn't an encyclopedia in the traditional sense, so the uncertain metric is now a *moving* uncertain metric.

I have always fallen (barely) on the side of inclusion with this article, because it contains interesting information that would be hard or impossible to find elsewhere. I never realized, for example, how often performers have died during a performance, especially over electronic media. (But is that an encyclopedic piece of information or just macabre trivia? Hmmm ....)

But we could certainly improve the sourcing, which would probably trim a few items. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 21:32, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Legend, myth and fable

The first section, Antiquity, is prefaced thus: "Note: Many of these stories are likely to be apocryphal" and again some editors might think it strange that one single article can include both mythical deaths and events which require solid secondary source WP:RS. It's obvious that we're unlikely to see an edit summary along the lines of "liver pecked out by birds each day for eternity is not unusual", since examples such as Prometheus, and indeed all of Greek and Roman mythology should rightly be excluded (and that of many other ancient civilizations, one supposes). Or should it? Such deaths, although entirely mythical, are certainly unusual and are extremely notable as the basis for literature and enduring popular culture. Perhaps another article is required? Martinevans123 (talk) 17:44, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Mythical/Legendary "deaths" are not deaths. If you are going to have the inclusion criteria defined to allow fictional deaths then you will be setting up the article for inevitable deletion as indiscriminant blob of trivia. -- The Red Pen of Doom 17:51, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
They are deaths. Just like all the millions of deaths in literature and song and cinema and theatre. But some have more cultural impact or significance than others. I was suggesting a new separate article for the stuff that's "apocryphal" or even mythical, etc. Rather unsettlingly you seem to equate "fictional" with "trivial". Martinevans123 (talk) 17:56, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
In an article about deaths, yep, I do equate fictional deaths as trivial and I find it unsettling that you appear to place the two as eqivilent. -- The Red Pen of Doom 18:05, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I was responding to your remark "Mythical/Legendary "deaths" are not deaths", in the wider sense. I have no desire to add fictional deaths to this article. That's why I suggested a new separate article. Is everyone out to subvert your good work here, or is it just me? Martinevans123 (talk) 19:08, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I would think that it would be even harder to set up objective criteria for List of unusual deaths in fiction and myth than it seems to be for actual deaths. -- The Red Pen of Doom 19:15, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
You might well be right. We might just be lighting a nice little diversionary fire why we try to put this one out. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:23, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Except that he is, of course, the worse possible example, as he didn't die. He'd have to go in the List of Unusual Immortals. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:31, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Molière's death, 1673

I don't understand what's unusual about someone dying in a coughing fit. It must have happened to millions of people suffering from all sorts of lung complaints. --Dweller (talk) 15:59, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I'm sure the act of uncontrollable coughing, from a variety of causes, has been the last act of countless people. But I think the presumption here is that the rider, given at the top of the article, applies, i.e. "This list also includes less rare, though still unusual, deaths of prominent people." Further, it really was Molière's last act, as he was on stage in the lead role of one of his own plays. So a 17th equivalent of Tommy Cooper's 1984 demise "live" on UK TV, perhaps. I'm not sure if the irony of the play's title adds to the "unusualness" of Molière's death. Some might think so, although irony is not really a medical or scientific concept, is it. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:28, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
so essentially this is List of deaths we think are cool because while "unusual or rare" is arbitrary enough, then you add on additional layers of arbitrary levels of "prominent" with an aditional arbitrary laxitude of the "unusual or rare". -- The Red Pen of Doom 17:50, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
I was quoting from the top of the page. But I'm not convinced that you think this one's cool enough. (I tried that additional arbitrary laxitude once... and I couldn't sit down comfortably for a week). Do you think this might be WP:RS? He just scrapes in at No 10. But then he's also No 1 here, naturally. And the Oxford Companion to French Literature also found it ironic: [4] Martinevans123 (talk) 18:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
According to his own article, he did not die on stage, so I say it should be removed. Abductive (reasoning) 21:21, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
The entry here doesn't say he did. Is there some kind of time limit? How is it defined? Martinevans123 (talk) 21:47, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
One of the world's greatest playwrights dies after a coughing fit while he's onstage starring in his own play as "The Imaginary Invalid"? This is sufficiently unusual and its oddity is a often-mentioned part of Moliere's biography--Arxiloxos (talk) 22:32, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
The discussion about inclusion criteria above Talk:List_of_unusual_deaths#Discussion_about_inclusion_criteria seemed to be leaning to the way to determine whether or not something is "unusual" would be to have the "unusualness" authenticated by (multiple) reliable sources and not the personal opinions of Wikipedia editors. -- The Red Pen of Doom 22:38, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
As has already been done here. See also for example [5][6]--Arxiloxos (talk) 23:32, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
The second describes it as a "morbid paradox" which with a lot of wiggle room I suppose could be considered describing it as "unique or extremely rare" if the additional arbitrary "rider" of "less rare, though still unusual, deaths of prominent people," but the other proposed source makes no such descriptive claim that I can see. -- The Red Pen of Doom 01:20, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
The sources on Molière all say he died hours after collapsing during the play. Even the source given in this article says, "but he fell into a fit of coughing during the final scene and died." which leaves time for him not to die on stage. To me, an ironic death is not the same thing as an unusual death. Abductive (reasoning) 02:17, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Respectfully, I don't see the relevance of the fact that he died after the show. The article is about "unusual deaths", not "deaths in public".--Arxiloxos (talk) 06:01, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Which is why I asked what time limit should be applied in general - minutes? some hours? next day? two days? Deciding such a time limit would itself seem to be rather subjective. We seem to be splitting hairs here, just to prove the point that we have got disgusting personal opinions of Wikipedia editors at work. I have tried to suggest that it might make more sense to first get consensus what are the criteria for inclusion and make them clear at the top of the page (I think this was the original reason that The Red Pen of Doom embarked on editing here?) rather than to conduct a piecemeal consideration of certain entries which seems to be then used to demonstrate that the whole article is in some way unworthy. Martinevans123 (talk) 06:49, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Summarising the above, the death seems to have been included because it is regarded, at best, as "ironic", rather than unusual. I suggest it's removed. --Dweller (talk) 09:50, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but I'm not really sure that's a very accurate summary. I suggested that irony may not even be relevant. But, in case you missed them, my main points were these: 1. Molière was a very notable individual (see present rider); 2. There are multiple sources which say that his death was unusual; 3. The coughing fit which led to his death was on stage, in public, during one of his owm plays (cf Tommy Cooper). However, overriding all of these three points, I am suggesting that we don't remove or add any examples until we have consensus on criteria. Which of these points do you dispute? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:06, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
The main issue on any Wikipedia page is sourcing. I might have missed a good RS source, but I see you've mentioned above two non RS sources that find it "unusual", and one RS source that finds it "ironic". --Dweller (talk) 10:14, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Then I would suggest that you go to the "Discussion about inclusion criteria" thread above and state something along the lines of: "the only criterion for inclusion should be more than one WP:RS, which clearly say that the death was unusual". Then, when consensus has been established, come back here to remove it, if appropriate. Meanwhile, I'll continue the search for more WP:RS sources, which are always a good idea. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:23, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Why more than one? I've not yet seen any. --Dweller (talk) 11:17, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
No problem, if you think one's enough. It is in most other articles. So suggest that in the discussion. I think it was Red Pen of Doom who wants multiple sources. But, as I have just commented there, even with a single WP:RS it's not yet clear exactly what that source has to say.
And one futher thought, that applies here and probably to many other cases - Wikipedia might love to state the obvious, to satisfy all sorts of self-imposed rules and strictures. But what self-respecting academic literary author (of which there are many who recount Molière's demise), before or after describing the event in detail, would say something as crass and pedestrian as "this was most unusual"? It ought to be wholly obvious, to most readers, that such an event was very obviously quite unusual. You seem to be asking for the kind of prose that would typically be found in journalistic "lists of wierd deaths", just the kind of sources that are likely not to be WP:RS. A bit of a contradiction, don't you think? Martinevans123 (talk) 11:27, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
it is Abductive who suggested the "multiple sources" factor. -- The Red Pen of Doom 14:03, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
" It ought to be wholly obvious, to most readers, that such an event was very obviously quite unusual" unacceptable claim that WP:Source list and WP:OR do not apply to this article. The sources must make any claim or analysis, not assumptions by editors or readers. -- The Red Pen of Doom 14:12, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
".. to most readers of that academic literary author"... Why should a serious biographer feel the need to "make the claim or analysis" that Molière's death was "unusual"? I was talking about the world outside wikipedia... it really does exist, you know. (But I'm glad you'd be happy with a single source.) Martinevans123 (talk) 14:23, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
if " a serious biographer " does not "feel the need to "make the claim or analysis" that Molière's death was "unusual" THEN WE CANNOT. Unless the claims and analysis have been specifically made by some other reliable sources, Wikipedia editors CANNOT fill that gap. -- The Red Pen of Doom 18:52, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting that it should, I was suggesting that good prose by a serious biographer, which did not state the obvious, might mean a scarcity of sources that used a word as banal as "unusual" or something equally inelegant and dull. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:01, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
"The verifiability policy states that material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable published source. Inclusion of material on a list should be based on what reliable sources say, not on what the editor interprets the source to be saying. " - if all writers about a particular death choose flowery elegant language which would require interpretation, over dull inelegant language that can allow straighforward reading without interpretaton, then yes, that death would not be able to be included in the article. However, one doubts that such an application would actually be of any impediment. There are so few subjects who have not been covered by pedestrian writers.-- The Red Pen of Doom 19:10, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
But I'm not talking about "flowery elegant language which would require interpretation". I'm talking about the tendency not to state the blindingly obvious (you know, as if one were writing a Wikipedia article). Even pedestrian writers in tabloids don't tend to write "Shock horror of very unusual stage death"... e.g. find me a WP:RS which actually says "Barack Obama is an American". But, as I have said a few times already, you might wish to try and establish consensus about which criterion or criteria for inclusion should be used. Then at least we'd all be "pissing onto the same sweet trolley", as it were. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:52, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
ANY interpretation or analysis MUST come from a reliable source. Thats basic policy.. Declaration of "unsualness" is inherrently an interpretation/analysis and MUST be supported by a source. -- The Red Pen of Doom 13:49, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

To get back to the point of this section, which is Moliere, not the criteria, do we have even one RS that considers his death "unusual"? --Dweller (talk) 09:23, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

What's our defintion of "considers"? - worthy of mention? described with the words "unusual death"? described in some other way? in a list of "unusual deaths"? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:29, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
WP:V and WP:SYNTH and WP:OR and WP:NPOV seem to me to demand use of at least a strong sentiment of unusualness. The sentiment of "irony" is nowhere near. --Dweller (talk) 09:33, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
A "strong sentiment of unusualness" sounds a little subjective? A shame that such a qualitative judgement can't be used as a Google search filter. So instead it's a case of looking through the results produced by "Molière" + "death" - only "About 2,490,000" of them. How far away is irony incidentally - and should we have it in feet or metres? Martinevans123 (talk) 09:45, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Come on, don't be facetious. Uses of words like "unusual", "rare" and others that you might find listed in a thesaurus. I take it from your reply that there is no such RS currently and as such the entry should be removed. --Dweller (talk) 10:03, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I was being realistic. Did you choose not to read my suggestion as to why academic authors might not use words just because they happen to be in a thesaurus? Or did you misconstrue my point in the same way that The Red Pen of Doom seems to have done? And please answer my question - where is that Wikipedia definition of "strong sentiment of unusualness"? What's the point of a search through 2 million Google hits if your response is just going to be "sorry, sentiment not strong enough"? For example, writing originally in the Theatre Magazine (Vol. 30, No. 9. New York: Theatre Magazine Company, 1919. p. 166), René Wren described it as a "strange saga": [7]. Does that mean it was unusual? Martinevans123 (talk) 10:16, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Obviously any criteria that are so vague that they will/have inspire such discussions fail "The contents of an article that is a stand-alone list should be clear. If the title does not already clarify what the list includes, then the list's lead section should do so. Don't leave readers confused over the list's inclusion criteria or have editors guessing what may be added to the list." and "Difficult or contentious subjects for which the definition of the topic itself is disputed should be discussed on the talk page in order to attain consensus and to ensure that each item to be included on the list is adequately referenced" ... "The verifiability policy states that material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable published source. Inclusion of material on a list should be based on what reliable sources say, not on what the editor interprets the source to be saying." -- The Red Pen of Doom 13:55, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Which non-vague criteria do you propose? Or do you wish to move the article to a less vague name? Do all of the sources for this article contain the phrase "This is one the tallest buildings or structures in the world."? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:13, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
We are discussing how to make this article comply with the policies and guidelines. I would assume that the sources on the other article you have linked to will have some statement that does not require any subjective analysis, such as "On Oct 2, 2002 when the radio antena was attached, the VERYTALL building became the tallest structure in the world at XK meters." However, you can ask them if you think they may have ideas that will be of use here.-- The Red Pen of Doom 16:11, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
regarding what "non-vague" criteria I would suggest, well, I am of the mind that NO "non-vague" criteria can exist for "unusual deaths", but I am willing to be convinced otherwise if people can develop some. As I stated earlier, the FIRST minimal criteria would seem be that a reliable source specifically notes that the death is unsual. Preferably, for even less vagueness, the death is included in a discussion of "unusual deaths" in a reliable source, rather than just the offhand comment that "that was unusual". SECOND the "riders" allowing "less unusual" deaths to be included if the death was of someone "prominent" would be eliminated as the rider adds TWO ADDITIONAL levels of vaguary. -- The Red Pen of Doom 16:22, 14 September 2012 (UTC)