Talk:Michael Richards/Archive 3

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Consensus for lead sentence

We've gone over this before in agonizing detail, and I'm disappointed that the same two editors, as they have in the past [1][2], seem to be lending ill-advised support for the questionable actions of every sockpuppet that inappropriately changes important wording without first achieving consensus. Although we do our best to assume good faith, we must not encourage the actions of those--including uncommunicative "new" users (who I can assure you are far from new)--who are clearly not interested in discussion or consensus-building.

Help decide on an agreeable wording for the opening sentence on this page, then apply those changes. Tyrenius took painstaking effort to demonstrate how consensus can be achieved on a contentious issue; don't shrug off everything he taught you and begin revert-warring or aligning yourself with destructive users; work together with the handful of editors that choose to behave themselves.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 23:27, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Also, Bus stop, your recent edit summary is incoherent. You were party to the discussion centering over what must be included in the lead sentence and what must not be. You are forcing me to repeat my argument from that discussion: I am not arguing whether his stand up comedy should be left out of the article (and I'm certainly not even touching on "whether or not [Richards--obviously notable] is sufficiently notable to have an article about him); I am arguing that his contribution in that specific field is far too insignificant to mention in the lead sentence, which should summarize only crucial information about the subject. As for Cleo123's strange justification that because the "He's a nigger!" tirade is highly notable and occured during a stand-up act, we should mention stand-up comedy in the first sentence. If that's the case, mention the tirade in the opening line, not the failed activity he was engaging in when the tirade occurred; but somehow I doubt Cleo123 wil support that suggestion. In any case, I'll support any lead sentence that has been sensibly vetted on this page.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 23:27, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Let's please not call editors "sock-puppets" unless they are proven to be so. I agree that Richards' stand-up comedy work is insignificant enough to warrant first-sentence mention. If it were my edit, I'd remove the reference to Seinfeld as well, or alter it so that it doesn't seem to make it sound like his life's work. Bulbous 18:45, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

The Fat Man Who Never Came Back -- I find this quote from Tyrenius on these Talk pages, from February 11: "I read in the talk that some of his serious, but minor, acting roles had been omitted. They should be included. If the subject is notable, then features of his life, which are not notable in themselves necessarily, become eligible for inclusion to give a full picture of the subject." Doesn't that quote from Tyrenius indicate that even Richards' "minor" endeavors are to be included? Bus stop 20:00, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

I'll clarify/repeat myself: there's a difference between omitting minor accomplishments from the article altogether (which is what Tyrenius is addressing here) and not including them in the opening sentence. No one's arguing that the article should completely ignore Michael Richards' non-Seinfeld, non-racist rant endeavors--merely that we should keep all but the most important information out of the lead.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 02:12, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Since 2002 the opening sentence of this article has has mentioned Richards' work as a comedian. For four years there was a consensus among what probably amounts to close to a thousand editors that Richards' work as a comedian belongs in the introductory sentence. It is entirely improper to demand that concensus be achieved before Mr. Richards' legitimate accomplishments can be re-inserted. The Fat Man Who Never Came Back never had consensus to remove "stand up comedian" in the first place. Many editors, including myself, strongly disagreed. The discussion grew very tiresome and I decided to devote my energies elsewhere. Wearing other editors down by arguing the same point over and over again is not the same thing as gaining consensus.
The timing of this edit is troubling, when one considers the years of edtitorial stability connected to the article's introduction. Shortly after the Laugh Factory Incident The Fat Man Who Never Came Back decided that Richards' work as a stand up comic didn't warrant inclusion in the introduction. It seems to me that his edit is motivated by the Laugh Factory Incident, which has no bearing on the subject of this biography's profession. Opinions as to whether or not he is a good comic, a bad comic, a successful or an unsuccessful comic are irrelevant points of view. This is Richards' biography and he is by profession both an actor and a stand up comedian. According to our article, it was his success as a stand up comic that led to his "big break" into television. He first came into the national spotlight as a stand up comedian, and he continues to hold himself out as a stand up comedian.
The Fat Man Who Never Came Back, I think you are missing the forest for the trees here. You seem to be analyzing this through the prism of notability standards applicable to an AFD discussion. Why not try looking at it as a simple writing exercise? It is a biography. In the first sentence, we are introducing the subject of the biography. Who is he? What does he do? By profession, he's a stand up comedian, who went on to achieve success as an actor. A considerable portion of our article's text discusses our subject in the context of being a stand up comedian. How can we not include that in the opening sentence?
It seems that you are merely trying to discredit Richards and somehow diminish the man's legitimate accomplishments. You stated in one of your edit summaries that your objection was to the use of the word "stand-up". Frankly, I think the whole thing is very petty but I may have a compromise. I'm going to adjust the sentence so that it does not "specify" his type of work as a comedian. I hope that works for you. Cleo123 09:15, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Comedian is fine with me, as it overlaps heavily with most types of comedic acting. His most notable and memorable appearances on Fridays and other late night TV (e.g., the sandbox stunts, the chain smoking fitness experts--his most significant pre-Seinfeld work) were in the vein of sketch and character-based comedy, not stand-up. Also, the fact Michael Richards article received little editorial attention before his embarrassing blow-up is a poor reason to let questionable wording stand. There are plenty of sub-par articles that have existed in that state for years. Even if this lack of attention paid to the then little-discussed actor somehow constitutes "consensus" by default (which it does not), consensus can evolve. To your exaggerated claim that "many" editors strongly disagreed that his minor accomplishments should not be listed in the opening sentence, I would counter that "many" other editors felt their inclusion was inappropriate. During instances of such disagreement--no matter how "petty" or "tiresome" you find them--it's best to open discussion on the talk page, which I have done now; I'm happy to abide by any decision reached here, as long as the opinion of disruptive editors and sockpuppets are ignored.
I agree that the lead should summarize who a guy is and what does he do. He's Kramer primarily, and talented and wacky character actor besides. That's how people knew him before last November. Other details can and should be relegated to the other sections of the article.
Your continual complaints that I want to "discredit" poor Kramer (actually one of the funniest guys on TV, IMO)--or that such minor textual changes could even accomplish such a vicious task--aren't really appropriate, are speculative at best and should probably be kept to yourself; but you already know that. Assume good faith.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 09:57, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I am in agreement with the change made by Cleo123. Bus stop 14:38, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Cleo123 was right I looked up the old version prior to November 2006 it looks like this
Michael A. Richards (born July 24, 1949 in Culver City, California) is an American actor, three-time Emmy Award winner, Freemason[1][2] writer, producer, and comedian, best known for playing Cosmo Kramer on the television show Seinfeld.
It seems that this version was quite stable as Cleo said ,but after the Laugh Factory Incident writer, producer, comedian, and Freemason was omitted. I think its best to move closer to this old consensus version or even just simply restore it as it was. Ecostaz 15:30, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Ecostaz, I don't know who you are, but your history of silly Dick Cheney-related edits [3] and inappropriate suggestions as to what constitutes a suitable article lead[4][5] do not inspire confidence in your editorial judgment. I have previously stated my grave concerns about the relevance of Richards' work as a writer and producer (and don't get me started on the Freemason label) being included in the article lead--and if I recall correctly, others expressed similar concerns. That being said, if I am now the only one who objects to documenting these minor phases of his career in the opening sentence, by all means, install the currently determined consensus version, not the version that sat collecting dust when this was a very low-traffic article. Please see WP:Consensus can change. My aim is to determine whether and to what extent it has changed since this became a frequently-edited page. Cleo123's preposterous claim that the stability of the lead pre-November 2006 reflected the consensus of what "probably amounts to close to a thousand editors" belies reality. Note that this talk page was subject to roughly 18 edits prior to November 20th. What does that tell us--that everyone was happy with the wording of every section? No, it merely means that no cared enough to comment, until now.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 16:27, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Your carefully couched statement is somewhat misleading. You first adjusted the opening sentence in mid December of 2006. [6] I count approximately 1,200 edits to the article prior to that. My statement was a "guess-timate" not a "claim" - which is why I used the word "probably". In light of the more than 1,000 edits prior to mid December 2006, I wouldn't characterize my statement that the article has received substantial editorial scrutiny as "preposterous".
The remarks you have directed towards Ecostaz are not particularly civil. I don't see how this user's edits to other articles (taken out of context) relate to their contributions to this article. Your attempts to discredit Michael Richards are bad enough. Do you feel it is also necessary to discredit other editors, simply because they disagree with you? If someplace on Wikipedia, you have been appointed to evaluate and judge the work of other editors - please let us all know. Otherwise, let's try to discuss the content of this article. It would be best to comment on content as opposed to commenting on contributors. Cleo123 08:39, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Assume I have no motive other than to write a good article and to keep disruptive editors from interfering with the construction of the same. I've asked you stop speculating about fellow editors' motives. Others have asked you to cease using the talk page as a forum for counterproductive speculation. So just stop. It's really not that difficult. As for Ecotaz's prior contributions, I am justifiably wary of those with thin editing histories and prior incidents of disruption. But I'll also try to assume that Ecostaz has since reformed and wishes to join us in building a useful article. And thank goodness no one needs to grant you or me or anyone else the privilege to evaluate and judge another editor's past edits. The User contributions feature is public for good reason.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 19:43, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
No, you did not ask me to stop speculating about "other editor's" motives. The citation you include is about your apparent agenda, which should be pretty obvious to any editor who reviews your contribution history to this article. Please, stop? Stop what? Pointing out your inappropropriate behavior and holding you accountable for your actions? No, I will not. I am glad to hear that you are now willing to assume good faith on Ecostaz's part and I am happy that my comment above had some impact on you. Hopefully, in the future you'll be more mindful of WP:BITE.
As for assuming "good faith" on your part, I have and I will continue to try and do so. However, when you initiate an un-ending debate with other editors' over very obvious facts - such as whether or not Michael Richards is a notable "stand-up" comedian - it's very difficult. I believe you are wasting everyone's time on a minor petty issue, which can have no other basis than your personal opinion. When confronted with facts, such as he got his big break as a featured stand up comedian on Billy Crystal's show - you opt to ignore the facts in favor of your opinion. If your User contributions demonstrated that you were deleting pertinent professional endeavors from the opening sentences of many biographies accross a wide spectrum, I'd feel differently. It seems, however, that you have singled Michael Richards out for this special treatment. It is also very difficult to assume good faith from someone who makes so many uncivil remarks targeted towards any editor who disagrees with his point of view. If you do not like me pointing these things out, then I suggest you heed the old biblical citation: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." "Dynamic Duo" Member Cleo123 07:49, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not "ignoring" the fact that he's done stand-up; it's mentioned later in the article; I'm just pointing out that it is not generally what he's remembered for. I've responded to the non-Richards related stuff on your talk page because it doesn't pertain here. Please try to keep a cool head when editing; I have observed that if you chill out, other editors will like you more and will find your arguments more persuasive.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 04:55, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Please stop your attacks and name calling (dynamic duo and others) on other editors, it makes your much quoted assume good faith toward you a lot harder if not impossible. According to your public contributions you were blocked two times yet you continue your attacks and disruption. You should stop before admins notice your behaviour and block you again. Ecostaz 19:33, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Responded to non-Richards matters on your talk page. Both blocks were mistakes for which admins later apologized.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 02:01, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

User:The Fat Man Who Never Came Back's logic is impeccable here. While it is true that one can talk about a defacto consensus relative to a prior version, it is a false argument to claim that all of the editors who were editing on the article were in accord about certain details of this article. Regardless, relative to our cited sources the Laugh Factory event gives everything a different perspective. (Netscott) 16:52, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

But why is it of such crucial importance to leave things out? Yes, it is the opening sentence. But why not include all his accomplishments, even if some might regard them as only minor dabblings? I just don't see what the big deal is. He is not a stand up comedian? He has done stand up comedy. Who is judging how accomplished he is in that realm? Why is this a point of contention? Is the inclusion of Richards as a stand up comedian going to skew the article? Is it going to mislead the reader into thinking things about Richards that are not true? I think these things are all in the same ball park. We are not arguing for the inclusion of Richards as a real estate developer. Why be so careful as to pare back, for instance, stand up comedy, from acting? I think our concern should be with good writing at this point, not so much with meaning. As long as the meaning is not wildly false, I think we should just be crediting Richards with his accomplishments, even those that some might argue are minor. Bus stop 17:06, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

While it is true that consensus can change, WP:Consensus that you linked also states that "This does not mean that Wikipedia ignores precedent", and warns about Asking the other parent "by asking again and hoping that a different and more sympathetic group of people will discuss the issue.". So while you are quick to completely dismiss the old version, according to WP:Consensus it is a relevant precedent that some kind of consensus was achieved then and this needs to be considered in the current discussion about the lead. Ecostaz 18:24, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Precedent would comprise a previous discussion, not previous lack of discussion. If some previous discussion had explicitly decided that the old lead sentence was flawless, and I were trying to unreasonably generate enough support to override that precedent, then your comment would apply. As it stands, the only previous discussion relating to the suitability of the lead can be found here and here. I re-read those discussions. Other than the usual dynamic duo (Cleo123 and Bus stop), the only one in support of the "old" lead sentence was the now banned mischief-maker Kgeza67. Wahkeenah, JJay and I disagreed with Cleo123 and Bus stop. This is not the stuff of consensus. As JJay suggested during that brief debate, please show us when the issue was even addressed pre-November; failing that, focus on the current effort to build consensus, and stop alluding to the infrequently edited "stable" version of yore.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 00:59, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

The Fat Man Who Never Came Back -- According to the "dynamic duo" of Cleo123 and Bus stop, Michael Richards is a stand up comedian. Bus stop 03:40, 27 February 2007 (UTC) . Bus stop 03:40, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Bus stop that he is a stand up comedian. However, I can accept the compromise version that uses simply the word "comedian". The Fat Man Who Never Came Back does have a valid point in mentioning Richards' work in sketch comedy. I happen to see those accomplishments as an additional to his work in stand up. The term "comedian" on its own can be construed as inclusive of both points of view. The reader can draw their own conclusion as to what "type" of comedian Richards' is. Cleo123 08:49, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
The lack of previous debates over the opening sentence, does not mean that there was no consensus. There have been minor adjustments to the sentence over the years, but none so extreme as to warrant a talk page debate. The fact that so many editors have worked on the article and have not made substantial changes to the sentence implies consensus because no fault was found with it. The Fat Man Who Never Came Back's edit is controversial and has inspired some revert warring. That is the only reason for this discussion. Cleo123 09:03, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Just passing through to see how you all are. If it's any help, then the lead section should be a summary of the article for those that don't want to read the whole thing. It would therefore be misleading to list major and minor achievements as if they were equal to each other. If it is considered necessary to include minor ones, then that should be apparent, in case a reader gets no further than the lead. It may be that minor ones are not necessary to a basic picture. Tyrenius 04:44, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Laugh incident

Where is the part where he said: Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass? And why are the people defending themselves being called black hecklers? Migospia 17:33, 25 February 2007 (UTC).

Greetings Migospia, welcome to the Michael Richards talk page. If you have not already done so I strongly recommend you read as much of the talk above (and in the archives) surround the Laugh Factory incident to gain a better perspective of where the editors who've been working on this article for some time stand. Thanks. (Netscott) 18:41, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
During prolonged discussions between editors a consensus has been arrived at as to the best way to present this incident. This included a discussion of what parts of the transcript of the incident should be quoted. We are not going to put everything in word for word. They are called black hecklers, because that is what they are called in verifiable reliable sources, and that is wikipedia policy. Tyrenius 20:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I would like to add the following sentence based on the interview that can be seen at YouTube (
"The audience at the Late Show with David Letterman seemed to think he wasn't serious and sneekered at comments that Richards made, like Afro-American (an outdated word to describe American-Americans), and at one point, Jerry Seinfeld had to tell the audience to stop laughing."
Please give me consensus to post this. Thank you. Jtpaladin 17:50, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Can anyone please find something on the fact that Richards was always an asshole, especially on the set of Seinfeld. No one has come out with it directly, but it's been implied over the years. He used to get very angry at the other 3 main cast members on the show when they'd screw up and he's always been a bit of a conceited fuck. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:59, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm not saying the text I wrote should be the one used. I'm saying those are the essential facts that need to be covered. I haven't studied how it's been done elsewhere, and if you could give links to actual examples, that would be very helpful. Let's not overstate things: I didn't say "Forget about the rest of Wikipedia etc" - it hasn't arisen as an issue previously. I am very keen to institute procedures from the rest of Wikipedia. Tyrenius 05:11, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. Again, please see the end of the "Rejection" sub-section above in which I have linked to several similar biographies of celebrities that had controversies of comparable nature. In particular, Marge Schott was alleged to have used the epithet "nigger" on more than one occasion, yet there was no mention of this in the lead para. The theory is the same: although controversies can loom large for a time, they usually do not measure up against an entire career/lifetime. Bulbous 05:38, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

I would suggest: "At the Laugh Factory, in West Hollywood, California, an altercation broke out between Michael Richards and audience members, which was caught on cell phone camera, in which racial insults were hurled in both directions." "Nigger" is not necessary to summation of the Laugh Factory incident. It is infantile, inflammatory, and misleading. Bus stop 04:57, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Again I have to take issue with the characterisation that is given here regarding possible use of the word nigger. It is not "infantile": it is following sources from a NPOV. It is not "inflammatory" more than the reality was and the sources are. It is certainly not misleading, as it is a fact. I am not saying that the word has to be included, but as yet I have not seen a better way of doing it. The lead section needs to be referenced. I'm not sure that there are sources which justify your suggested text. It seems to me to be an editorial interpretation, but please prove me wrong and give the sources, e.g. the source that defines the event as "an altercation broke out". As I recall, the emphasis in reports was very much on Richards' actions. We follow sources. We don't amend them. Tyrenius 05:22, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
It is not balanced. Do we say, "At the Laugh Factory, in West Hollywood, California, Richards was caught on a cell phone camera being assailed by racial comments from Black audience members?" I'm sure sources can be found to support something to that effect. I do not endeavor to say anything of the sort. I take into account what I do not know. I do not make assertions that may be reckless. In the introductory paragraph I alert the reader that yes, indeed, they have come to the right place if they wanted to read about the racially charged verbal altercation that received widespread news coverage. All they have to do is scroll down if they want to read all the gory details. Bus stop 05:59, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
I think that is because the sources aren't "balanced". The news was all about Richards. That is the key aspect. We don't have to find balance for the sake of it, if it's not there in the sources. We attribute the weight that the sources do. That's what NPOV is. Tyrenius 06:16, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Once again, if anyone is interested, controversies such as the LFI are extremely rarely mentioned in the lead section of other Wikipedia articles. However, I have found one article that does mention it in the lead. I believe it falls into the same trap that the Richards article does. Namely, undue weight is being given to a current event. Either way, note that the subject of that article said "I hate gay people", however the opening para says he made "homophobic remarks". That article gives us precedence for using words to the effect of "racist remarks" as opposed to "nigger". Bulbous 19:20, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Should controversial incidents in all cases be included in lead paragraphs? Isn't it hard to achieve balance in condensed space? In the lead paragraph, aren't the concerns more about alerting the reader to the incident than to fleshing out the incident? Should language be held to the same standards concerning citing sources? I actually think not. I think paraphrasing, when done in good faith, can be preferable to citing sources verbatim. Bus stop 19:44, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

The last few iterations of the 2nd sentence are ridiculous. The incident didn't receive "much press" because Richards and the audience "exchanged" racial epithets. Nor does the obfuscatory, euphemistic phrase "heated verbal exchange" give any hint as to why this was such a big deal. My feeling is the 2nd sentence of the lead should briefly summarize his post-Seinfeld forays, perhaps including the Michael Richards show and, of course, his racist outburst. The dishonesty of the version as it stands now makes my skin crawl.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 20:36, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

How about this for the lead section:

"In November 2006, Richards called a pair of black hecklers hecklers "niggers" during one of his stand-up shows at the Laugh Factory comedy club. The incident receieved much press and Richards later apologised."

Thoughts?Hoponpop69 02:18, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

You may not have noticed, but right now the majority opinion is that there should be no mention of the LFI in the lead. I think there's virtually zero chance that the word "nigger" will be endorsed. Bulbous 02:32, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Uh, no Bulbous, that is incorrect. Consensus is being established for what about the LF story will go into the lead. (Netscott) 02:34, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Despite my agreeance with User:Tyrenius' version that includes the word "nigger" here is another proposal:

In late 2006 Richards was heavily in the news after cell phone video of him shouting racial remarks at black hecklers was released. He later public apologized for his outburst.

(Netscott) 02:46, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

You're the one who set up the Request for Comments section, in which the majority opinion indicates that no mention of the LFI is warranted in the lead. Are you now ignoring the responses because they didn't come out the way you wanted? In addition to the majority opinion, the overwhelming majority of similar biographical articles do not mention such passing scandals in the lead para. What about that would make you think that consensus for certain wording is being established? Bulbous 02:48, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
What majority? What are you talking about? There is no majority one way or the other. There was virtually no response outside of those who've been editing here to my request for comment. Look just because other articles are wrong does not mean we have to be wrong on this one. Let editors on other articles make their editing decisions and let us make ours. (Netscott) 02:51, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Look at the responses above. "No mention" is ahead 3-2. Bus Stop and Tyrenius didn't really specifically give an answer, but I think it's a fair assumption that they are on opposite sides of the fence. And I think it's completely unreasonable to assume that editors of other similar articles which have all come to the same conclusion are wrong. I'm starting to think that you have stopped trying to improve this article and are now attempting to push an agenda. Bulbous 02:58, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Bus stop has himself edited in a lead sentence.. if actions don't speak louder than words I don't know what does. Besides you're avoiding the guideline issue. You yourself pointed out the Tim Hardaway article as an example... I see no difference here. So tell me then since User:Tyrenius who has been fairly outside of these issues is supporting a version even more intense than my own, by suggesting that I have an agenda are your suggesting he has an agenda as well? (Netscott) 03:03, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not avoiding the guideline issue. I am suggesting that the LFI is not "notable" in the context of an entire career. The subject acted in a sitcom for about nine years. A ten-minute meltdown hardly stacks up against that. If you want a controversy that does bear mentioning, see Fatty Arbuckle. Now that's a "notable" controversy. The Hardaway article is an exception that (I believe) strengthens my case. It's a current event, and it's only mentioned there because it is so "now". On the discussion page, the editors of that article indicate that, after the controversy dies down, some of the material may be cut. Bulbous 03:14, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

If it is so unnoteable than why is it the first thing that come sup when you google Michael Richards name?Hoponpop69 03:54, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

I am opposed to any mention of the Laugh Factory incident in the first paragraph. It lasted all of 5 minutes. No one was hurt. It was just a verbal altercation. To the credit of all involved, there was never any intimation of taking the disagreement to the level of physical violence. The media and all the people with big mouths got it all wrong, and Wikipedia doesn't have to get it wrong also. The incident is covered in the body of the article. It need not be mentioned at all in the lead paragraph. If I am outnumbered and it is decided that it is to be mentioned in the lead paragraph, then I argue for brief, toned down language. But I think the article is better by simply mentioning Richards' theatrical accomplishments in the first paragraph. Bus stop 04:09, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Bus stop, the reason that the Laugh Factory is mentioned in the first paragraph is because if you notice in the vast majority of Wiki articles, there is a quick summary of the article in the first paragraph describing the major issues of the article. You should restore that info to the first paragraph in order to maintain that consistency. Jtpaladin 16:34, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, you will find that in the vast majority of Wiki bios, transitive controversies of this nature are not mentioned. See Janet Jackson, Paul Reubens, Sinéad O'Connor, George Michael, Mel Gibson, Winona Ryder and Marge Schott for examples. Bulbous 17:04, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I actually meant articles in general. Plus, in Richards' case, his bio does not really stand out except for Seinfeld and the LFI. That might make that incident appropriate for the first paragraph. I don't care either way. Just a thought. Jtpaladin 17:16, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

All of those pages are wrogn as well because people liek you don't follow wikipedia rules on them.Hoponpop69 18:43, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Consensus elaboration

I agree with the consensus reached regarding the Laugh Factory incident but I don't see anything wrong with elaborating on something that is already mentioned in the article. The Late Night with David Letterman is mentioned in the article and I thought that discussing what happened on that show in greater detail would be appropriate. It's verifiable and truthful and this has to be the first article in Wikipedia that censors info from an article. Anyone interested on further discussing this subject? Jtpaladin 16:29, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

What is it from the David Letterman show that you would like to bring into the article? Bus stop 16:34, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

I guess Jtpaladin is referring to when Michael Richards apologized; unless there was something else on Late Night With David Letterman that Michael Richards did there that I missed. Acalamari 16:41, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I was talking about Richards' apology on Letterman. I thought a little more elaboration on that would be appropriate. Thanks guys. Jtpaladin 17:02, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I think the apology portion of could use some editing. For one thing Richards never, "said he was trying to defuse heckling by being even more outrageous". What he actually does is affirm a suggestion from Letterman that that is what he might have been doing. It seems disingenuous to make it appear as though that wording was Richards' own. (Netscott) 17:09, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Netscott, that was all I was trying to say. Jtpaladin 17:12, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Following the Tim Hardaway example

Ok, pretty much everyone here understands that due to WP:LEAD guidelines any "notable controversies" should be included in the lead. User:Bulbous mentioned that on that in the lead of the Tim Hardaway article there is mention of his recent homophobic comments (which Ann Coulter sarcastically made reference to-btw) but Bulbous also noted that some of the editors were expressing the view that as time goes by such details in the lead should be trimmed down. Well there's no reason we can't apply the same logic here. It is clear given the South Park episode With Apologies to Jesse Jackson that the event is still very notable. Hopefully everyone realizes that Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. We don't know if these details of his life will fade away or not. What we do know is that they are very pertinent to his biography right now. Given the size of the concerned section on this article about him it is perfectly logical right now that there is mention of these events in the lead. (Netscott) 19:02, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

"Ok, pretty much everyone here understands that due to WP:LEAD guidelines any "notable controversies" should be included in the lead." Words appear to be being placed in people's mouth here. I don't see anyone conceding to this. Cleo123 03:30, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, I think it would be remiss of us to follow what is probably an anomaly. However, for the sake of discussion, let's say we do. If we use that article as a guideline, wouldn't the statement simply read thusly? "In November 2006, Richards caused controversy over a series of racial slurs. He has since apologized for the statements". Bulbous 19:09, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
That sounds well worded to me... I still prefer User:Tyrenius's "raw" version but I also see how such raw language can likely prejudice readers about who Richards is relative to his entire life/career. (Netscott) 19:12, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
That's not really a suggestion, rather an example very closely following the other article. I'd probably want to tweak the wording a bit. Perhaps something like, "In November 2006, Richards caused controversy over a racial outburst during a comedy routine. He has since apologized for the statements". Bulbous 19:25, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm OK with this version. Tyrenius 23:06, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
I prefer this last version as it is more specific to what happened. You know you've been citing all of these other bio articles and while I understand your logic that for the most part of them there's little to no mention of the controversies they've been in but what I fail to see entirely is how that is particularly pertinent as the currency of the controversies related to those other bios are out of date. Is that not true? (Netscott) 19:32, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
I was going to point out the same thing. The articles I cited are older, but at the time the incidents caused very big scandals (consider Sinead O'Connor's tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II on Satudary Night Live). I believe that the passage of time helps put such transitive events in proper perspective. Bulbous 19:40, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia should not be exploiting the missteps of Richards as so many others have been doing. The truth is perfectly well recounted in the body of the article. If a reader wants to indulge in immersion in self righteousness they can surf the web to other sources for that. Bus stop 19:55, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Please cut out the rhetoric and drama. We don't edit on an emotional basis, but on an analytical one. We don't originate material, or your argument might have merit, but we do have to reflect it once it's been originated elsewhere. Please AGF as to the motivations of your fellow editors, rather than accusing them of exploitation. If you don't like the NPOV policy, this is not the venue to address it. Tyrenius 23:10, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think the neutral point of view extends to always including a controversial incident in a lead paragraph. And if a controversial incident is included in an introductory paragraph, I don't think Wikipedia necessarily has to reflect improper biases, even if doing so would reflect the approximate weight that the media have given to it. Wikipedia has a voice of its own. Adherence to rules that result in a bad article does not make sense. Bus stop 23:38, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Stop being such a baby about this and trying to sugarcode this whole thing. The inclusion of this sentence does not make it a bad article, and there are no biases in it. You are just trying to upstruct progress from being made, so that Michael Richards looks better. I'm sorry but the fact is this was a major story. Google Michael Richards and the laugh factory thing is the first thing that comes up.Hoponpop69 23:44, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

That is a personal attack. Please comment on edits, not editors. Tyrenius 00:49, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

First of all it is an editorial judgement that the source is "an improper bias". That's a POV. Secondly, even if it is a bias, then we have to represent that if it has significant weight. It can be attributed to the source, but it can't just be ignored because we don't like it. I think it would be a bad article if this incident were not included. I think it would be a bad article if it were not also in the lead section, which is meant to be a concise version of the main article. I think you should argue your case over on the talk page for WP:LEAD and WP:ATT to change the policy. Other editors are adhering to it, and so am I. Tyrenius 00:54, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Bulbous' lead sentence review

Here's is the line for the lead that User:Bulbous has formulated;

In November 2006, Richards caused controversy over a racial outburst during a comedy routine. He has since apologized for the statements

Does anyone have any issues with the wording? (Netscott) 23:58, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

The only word I would change is "racial" to "racist'. Though in general I think this sentence is good.Hoponpop69 00:02, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

We've been avoiding the word "racist" due to a desire to remain neutral point of view about the Laugh Factory story. The word "racist" definitely takes on a strong point of view. This wording makes it clear what happened given the "apology" portion of this line. (Netscott) 00:07, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
A "racist" outburst? Bus stop 00:13, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Okay how about "an outburst of racial epithets"? I also feel it should be mentioned that they were targeted to black hecklers, as many comedians use innapropriate racial humor, but the fact that Richards did it to these peoples faces is what made it shocking. My suggestion:

"In November 2006, during a comedy show, Richards caused controversy over an outburst of racial epithets he shouted at a pair of black hecklers. He has since apologized for the statements."

Hoponpop69 00:33, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Sounds good too... I like the fact that it sets up that there was some provocation = black hecklers. But either one is fine imho. (Netscott) 00:36, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I think indication of provocation is fair, and follows sources. How's about:
In November 2006, Richards caused controversy over racial epithets he shouted at black hecklers during a live comedy routine. He has since apologized on television for the statements.
We don't need to be specific about the number, and it might not be accurate to do so. Mentioning TV brings in the fact that it was a media-worthy event. It doesn't mention "niggers", so hopefully editors who were against that will be able to find a middle ground. Tyrenius 00:43, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

The only thing I'd change is the word routine, as it makes it sound like it was part of an act. If you change it to live comedy show I think it works great:

In November 2006, Richards caused controversy over racial epithets he shouted at black hecklers during a live comedy show. He has since apologized on television for the statements.

Hoponpop69 01:11, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I would suggest: "In November 2006, controversy arose concerning racial epithets Richards shouted at black hecklers during a live comedy show. He has since apologized on television for the statements." Bus stop 02:30, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Agree.Tyrenius 02:40, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
  • This is fine but I prefer the one above for succintness. (Netscott) 02:44, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Bustop's suggestion is fine. Can we put it up?Hoponpop69 03:31, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Bulbous reverted from my edit, and insisted I "discuss it" on this talk page before making the edit. Okay. The paragraph which Bulbous reverted to is still inaccurate and unfair to both sides in the controversy. 1. They weren't black hecklers. That wording is in itself is a racist characterization, meant to suggest the black audience members deserved it, because, after all, they were "black hecklers." 2. it wasn't a live comedy show, it was a comedy show. "live comedy show" denotes live broadcast, and the show wasn't being broadcast live. 3. Richards IMMEDIATELY apologized, and there is a huge difference between someone who eventually apologizes and someone who immediately apologizes for this type of offense. There. I discussed it. Reverting my edit in this case will be considered vandalism. Jovriel 11:19, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

First of all, don't make threats. If you have read the note placed in the lead section by an administrator, you would know not to edit that section without reaching a consensus for your edit. Many of us have discussed this section at great lengths, and we have mostly agreed on the wording. As to your specific points: 1) The phrase "hecklers" was taken from a citation and it's inclusion has never been debated. The media reported the targets of the outburst as "hecklers" and so will we. 2) I believe that "live" comedy show was used to differentiate between one with an audience and one that was taped for television. 3)I have no position on this. Bulbous 15:05, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Agree with Bulbous. Editors need to read and understand WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V, i.e. we say what verifiable secondary sources say, not what folks deems in their own POV is "racist characterization". Verifiable sSecondary sources saidblack hecklers", then wiki says "black hecklers". I am ok with deleting "live" only because offhand I can't remember any sources that described it as "live comedy show." As for the "immediately apologized" part, ditto: if you can find any sources that back up your edit "He repeatedly apologized for his statements in the days following the outburst" which contain two words "repeatedly" and "outburst" which carry connotations, then we can even begin to simply discuss if article is worth updating. Tendancer 19:38, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Second of all, "Bulbous" I didn't make threats. You reverted my edit, and I consider that vandalism. Both yours and "Tendancer's" remarks are categorically ill-informed, you don't know much about Michael Richards' outburst except for what you've read in one single news report, which doesn't contain many facts other than a link to a video of the incident, it was web-posted in the immediate aftermath, when not much was known about the exact circumstances. The single news link you both are relying on is not a reliable "secondary source." You both need to read and understand WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V, and quit trying to impose a bogus and unworkable "rule" that a factual modification not be offered unless full consensus is reached. Elsewhere on this discussion page, that impossible standard is questioned by someone else, as well it should be. The paragraph you both support is tinged with naivete, as I said earlier, it is inaccurate and unfair. I can and will include news links which substantiate my edit. And if you revert back, I will consider that vandalism. Feel threatened by my opinion? Then report my opinion as a "threat" and get laughed at. Jovriel 22:17, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
reverted your intentional edit against consensus as you wish. May I also recommend these additional wiki articles for reading: WP:EL + WP:BLP (specifically the bolded part stating blog links should never be used as source), as well as WP:No_angry_mastodons and WP:CHILL. Please note this editing pattern puts you at risk of a WP:3RR violation. Cheers. Tendancer 23:09, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Could you link to the various WP's you obviously know more about than myself and some others? I'm having a look at them, they are relevant and helpful to me, it would be more convenient for them to be wikified if that's not too much trouble. P.S....I'm not going to revert again, and will follow the advice at Wikipedia:No_angry_mastodons. Cheers 2. Jovriel 23:35, 10 May 2007(UTC)
Jovriel, thanks for your agreement to cooperate and welcome to the Michael Richards article! I'm sorry if it feels that people are "jumping on you " a bit! If you'll review the talk page archives, you'll see that the Laugh Factory Incident has been the subject of exhaustive, detailed, painstaking discussions and debate. LOL! Indeed, it has taken many months for a consensus to be reached. The term "Black hecklers" was agreed upon, in part, because Kyle Doss gave an interview in which he acknowleged heckling Richards. As for your assertation that Richards appologized "immediately" - I'm not sure that's entirely accurate. If memory serves me correctly, Richards stated in an interview that he returned to the stage after the incident to appologize, but Doss and his party had already left. If you can find a reliable source for an immediate appology, I'm sure some editors will be glad to consider a revision. I see your point about use of the word "live" as a descriptor of the comedy show. I'm not sure the word is really necessary. In any case, additional perspectives are always welcome. Cheers! Cleo123 00:24, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Just for your information, the section requesting that certain parts of the article not be modified without consensus was not the idea of the various editors. It was written by an administrator that was mediating this discussion. If you have objections, you might want to take it up with him. Bulbous 04:24, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Back up, Folks!

Sorry, I'm a bit confused. I've been very busy and just haven't had the time to weigh in thoroughly on this. In reading the talk page, it seems that the majority of editors including : Bus stop, Ecostaz, Bulbous and myself have expressed the view that this controversy should not be included in the opening sentence. Likewise, The Fat Man Who Came Back seems to have expressed reservations about the treatment of the incident in the opening. I'm not sure that Bulbous' willingness to discuss proposed verbiage should be construed as an endorsement. It seems like editors are being strong armed into a false consensus. Although WP:LEAD, which is only a guideline, endorses inclusion of notable controversies, I believe that guideline is outweighed by WP:BLP which is a policy. Surely, a policy outweighs a guideline. Let's not miss the forest for the trees here.

WP:BLP is very clear in requiring editorial sensitivity regarding controversial material that could be damaging to an individual's career or reputation. As written, the current proposals seem to be defining Richards in an encyclopedic context as being notable for only two things : appearing on Seinfeld & shouting racial epithets. There is a serious weight issue here. Do the supporting editors sincerely believe that Richards' years of work on Seinfeld and his Emmys deserve the same weight as a ten minute name calling incident? "Defining" his career in this manner is defamation of character, in my opinion. These are the same editors, who have argued that Richards' "stand up" career is not notable and worthy of inclusion in the lead. Well, the incident, in question, is clearly part of Richards' "stand up" career. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

WP:BLP clearly states that:

"Editors should be on the lookout for biased or malicious content in biographies or biographical information. If someone appears to be pushing an agenda or a biased point of view, insist on reliable third-party published sources and a clear demonstration of relevance to the person's notability."

The Laugh Factory Incident is not what Richards is notable for. It is a tabloid style incident, which he is now notorious for. There is a big difference. Had he committed a crime of some sort that might be a notable controversy worthy of inclusion. As Bulbous has pointed out, similar "controversies" including criminal incidents have not been included in the lead paragraphs of other celebrity biographies. To treat Richards' biography differently, is to discriminate against him by exercising an editorial bias. The incident is adequately covered in the article. Including it in the lead gives it undue weight, which could be construed as defamatory. If editors sincerely feel that the lead should be a summary of the entire article - why hasn't information about the "Michael Richards Show" and other article highlights been added? The fact that they haven't leads me to suspect that a point of view is being pushed here, whether intentionally or not. As editors, we must exercise editorial sensitivity by not mentioning this incident in the lead which according to WP:BLP must present a nuetral and unbiased point of view. Cleo123 03:16, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Fine then I will add information on the Michael Richards Show and the rest of his career in the lead section so that it is unbias.Hoponpop69 03:26, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Uh, no Hoponpop69(Actually misread your comments Hoponpop69, that makes perfect sense... sorry), but still this BLP argument is a hollow one... Cleo123's citation cancels itself out. Look the, "If someone appears to be pushing an agenda or a biased point of view, insist on reliable third-party published sources and a clear demonstration of relevance to the person's notability" concern is canceled out by the bolded areas. It has already been explained on this talk page by both User:Tyrenius and myself that the lead could use help relative to the rest of Richards' career and with such help this one instance would be balanced out. Cleo123, your argument is falling flat here. Can you just add more details to the lead to balance it out? (Netscott) 03:32, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
You are both missing my point. There are two issues which need to be addressed : undue weight & editorial bias. While adding other career accomplishments and article highlights might address the undue weight concerns, there is still a global editorial bias that would have to be addressed. Treating Richards' biography differently than those of other celebrities featured on Wikipedia is exercising an editorial bias against him. In order to remedy the situation, one would have to add similar "controversies" into the leading paragraphs of all of Wikipedia's celebrity biographies. I do not believe that you will be able to obtain the kind of global concensus required for such a vast departure from the editorial norms. Do you really think that the editors over on the Barbra Streisand page are going to stand still for her "shut the fuck up" incident being included in the lead paragraph? Her confrontation with an audience member is an incident of very similar size, scope and nature - yet I doubt those editors will stand still for it being placed in the opening. Why isn't Winona Ryder labelled as a convicted shoplifter and drug abuser in her biography's opening? The answer is simple: defamation of character issues. The spirit of editorial policy must over ride mere writing guidelines in this situation. Cleo123 04:03, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate the two above suggestions for balancing the lead, but the way to balance out content that shouldn't be present is not by adding more content that perhaps should be. I realize the currently proposed edit is, to some degree, being attributed to myself. I want to make it clear that I don't endorse mention of the LFI in the lead. But, when you have an extremely emotional and vocal minority of editors, including an administrator, who are ignoring an expressed majority and also precedent in order to push an edit, you don't have to paint me a picture in order to see how things will come out. I'd rather ensure that a reasonable statement is added then some of the poorly worded edits attempted earlier.
The only case that is being made is very weak. WP:LEAD does not automatically mean that LFI should be included, as it is not a notable controversy in the larger sense. For guidance, all we need to do is look at similar examples. An emotional meltdown or a breast exposure on television do not qualify as "notable". A career-ending prosecution for rape and murder, child molestation prosecution and an felony arrest resulting in incarceration clearly do. Can we really not see the difference? Bulbous 04:05, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Please take a look and weigh in at Wikipedia_talk:Biographies_of_living_persons#WP:BLP_vs._WP:LEAD. I have seen this same argument played out a bazillion times. Let's get some frikkin' consensus going here! --Jaysweet 04:08, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I think that what should be added to the article, perhaps to the introductory paragraph, is the media circus that has followed a 5 minute virtually meaningless incident. Perhaps it should be noted that the media has made a mountain out of a mole hill. Perhaps in the introductory paragraph it has to be noted that Richards has no history of racism, that in fact Richards has a history of working constructively and amicably with black people. Bus stop 04:24, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

That is a very good idea, and it would be even better if you do it. I presume there are sources. It should have been done a long time ago in that case. Tyrenius 04:32, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
You make a good point. I am not aware of sources to support the contentions. Or, it would at best be original research. I stand corrected. Bus stop 04:52, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

(triple edit conflict) I quite agree with Cleo123 that as things stand the inclusion of this incident would create an unbalanced lead, but, as I keep on saying, this is because the existing material is inadequate, and needs to be enlarged. WP:LEAD states that for an article of this length a guide is 1 - 2 paragraphs. At the moment it's barely one paragraph. The lead should contain salient points, and I disagree with the omission of such as his comic routines, though it has to be shown that these are not what he is most known for. In other ways I have to differ strongly from Cleo123. The argument that he may be "notorious" for something but not "notable" for it is nonsensical. Notoriety is notability. We present the truth and the facts not a varnished spin version. WP:LEAD is quite clear that:

The relative weight given to points in the lead should reflect the relative weight given to each in the remainder of the article.

It is not too far off at the moment, and an augmentation of the existing material in the lead will make it right. The point is that it is not an option as to whether it is mentioned in the lead or not. It is obligatory. Otherwise the lead will not represent the article.

Afterword: I object to Bulbous' characterisation of an "emotional and vocal minority of editors, including an administrator". I have no emotional involvement with Michael Richards, I can assure you. I do have an emotional involvement in writing an article as it should be. If I've got it wrong, I'd like to know, but I haven't seen anything convincing yet. The revised wording of this incident for the lead is very restrained.

Tyrenius 04:27, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

With all due respect, Tyrenius, you appear to be ignoring the majority opinion here. Are you acting as an administrator or as an editor? I, for one, am confused - I do not see where anyone is "required" to include controversies in leading paragraphs. WP:Lead would appear to be a guideline, not a rule. Is there something I'm missing here? Cleo123 05:19, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Other than the point not really.Hoponpop69 05:20, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but I have been reading up on Wikipedia's policies and guidelines [7]. It would appear that policies, such as WP:BLP are strictly enforced, whereas as guidelines such as WP:LEAD are loosely enforced and subject to interpretation, exceptions and the #1 policy of concensus. There is no concensus here. The majority of editors have expressed the view that the Laugh Factory Incident should not be included in the lead. Cleo123 05:32, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Guidelines are only arrived at after considerable debate to reach consensus. They are essentially the normal ways that policies are interpreted in different situations. They carry considerable weight, and are especially useful when there is a local difference to indicate how this is likely to be viewed in the wider community. Thus WP:LEAD states:
The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, establishing context, explaining why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describing its notable controversies
Local consensus does not trump policy and normally does not trump a guideline, because the local dispute ends up in a wider forum, which has already given consensus approval to the guideline. If this situation is deadlocked, then it will have to go through the WP:DR process. A properly conducted WP:RFC would be a good start - the idea is not for existing editors to pile in! Admins don't have any special editing privileges, although they are expected to have a good grasp of policy (but they're certainly not infallible :) of course), so I'm here as an editor basically with some informal mediating role. I did promise myself never to return, but I seem to have done so, though for how long remains to be seen. I'm not sure I can say any more than I have already. Tyrenius 05:40, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Tyrenius -- You've been an incalculably good force in shaping up this article. I hope you continue to provide input. Without an admin this article would still be way out of control. Now it is merely the intro paragraph we are arguing about. Bus stop 13:36, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

  • I don't think there is a consensus that the incident should not be included. Furthermore how does this violate WP:BLP? What about the statement that we have came to a consensus on is a POV? If you fell it is unfair to have 1/3 of the Richards lead section about the LFI, then that's no reaosn to not talk about the LFI, it's reason to expand the lead section so that it gives a fuller overview of him.Hoponpop69 05:42, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Why don't we write, in the lead paragraph, that a minor incident occurred in November, 2006, that received widespread media coverage, in which Richards used racial slurs to address members of the audience? That would seem to me to be the most concise way we could address the Laugh Factory incident in the intro paragraph while still doing so with balance. By simply calling it minor we solve all our undue weight problems. Bus stop 09:14, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
  • The concept of consensus in an article such as this seems to be a slippery slope because another editor is bound to come along and change wording. They will do so because they were not included in the decision making process, and the decision making process begins all over again. Bus stop 09:20, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Well if you had a source saying it was a minor incident that would be legit, but I don't think you'd find one.Hoponpop69 17:56, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Good point. It would be "original research." Bus stop 18:01, 13 March 2007 (UTC)


Please take a look and weigh in at Wikipedia_talk:Biographies_of_living_persons#WP:BLP_vs._WP:LEAD. I have seen this same argument played out a bazillion times. Let's get some frikkin' consensus going here! --Jaysweet 04:08, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I want a ruling here. Time and time again, I have seen articles where a living person has a notable controversy surrounding them, and half the folks want to put the controversy in the lead (citing the guideline WP:LEAD's advice that any notable controversies should be included in the lead text), while half the folks want to push it down to the bottom of the article (citing that WP:BLP is a policy and therefore trumps WP:LEAD). Examples: Mel Gibson, Tim Hardaway, Michael Richards.

I frankly don't give a damn either way, I'm just sick of an argument that doesn't seem to have an answer. So my request is: Can someone with authority (I invoke the holy name of Jimbo! ;D ) please make a ruling on this, and make it explicit in WP:BLP as to whether current controversies regarding a living person belong in the lead text? I would really appreciate that.... --Jaysweet 04:05, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

The above posts from from Jaysweet are central to this discussion. They make it clear that this is a Wikipedia wide problem and we should not waste our breath here, but wait out a solution from the community. For me it seems clear that a policy (WP:BLP) should trump a lower level guideline (WP:LEAD), but some clearly think otherwise. We should take a step back and not edit the lead until a wikipedia wide solution is found. Ecostaz 07:38, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree that this discussion is directly on point and should settle the current dispute quite nicely. Bulbous 17:39, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Well the trivia section has just grown... with another mention of the Laugh Factory incident further illustrating the notability of this incident. Look it's nonsense to be delaying when we have a perfectly good example to follow. Keeping the lead free of mention of this inicident is just bowdlerizing the article which is obviously wrong particularly given the guidelines on this. (Netscott) 17:52, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
A good example? No, I believe this is a this a terrible example. The Tim Hardaway talk page does not seem to contain any discussion regarding inclusion of the controversy in the lead. I suspect because the minority of nuetral editors are having a difficult time "containing" the controversy which has dominated more than 50% of Hardaway's biography. Apparently, the article was tagged as part of the now deleted Homophobic People category. It seems that the article has been mobbed with editors who are hell bent on labeling Hardaway a homophobe and exacting some sort of "punishment" on him. (sound familiar?) Folks, we live in the USA, where there is freedom of speech and people are entitled to their personal opinions. Whether we think Tim Hardaway is a homophobe or Michael Richards is a racist - they are entitled to their personal views, which are not germaine to their chosen professions.
More importantly, the Hardaway article is an isolated example. The majority of celebrity bigraphies do not include "controversies" in the opening paragraph. In singling out Richards and Hardaway for special treatment an editorial bias is being exercised on a global scale. As editors, we cannot view bias solely through the prism of isolated articles, we must look at Wikipedia as a whole. If this application of "guidelines" is to hold water then all celebrity biographies must include mention of controversies in the lead. To do so, we would then essentially be defining living people by these controversies. This opens a very large can of worms. What's next? "Paris Hilton is an american socialite & porn star." Or perhaps, "Winona Ryder is an american actress. She's also a convicted shoplifter." Or better yet: "George Bush is the President of the USA and a recovered alcoholic." How about : "Laura Bush is our first lady, who also killed some one in a car accident." Where does it end??? If I inserted these examples into any one of these biographies, I'd probably be labeled a vandal. It would appear that I was trying to defame the character of these individuals, and rightfully so. I'm not sure this situation is very different.
Again, I wish to reiterate my point. Policies outweigh guidelines. Guidelines should be applied with common sense. The spirit of WP:BLP should be first and foremost in our minds. Negative or controversial material that could be damaging to the career or reputation of a living person must be treated with sensitivity. There is a serious flaw in the guideline, which really needs to be fleshed out and clarified. To apply it unilaterally, as written, could potentially open WIkipedia up to a flurry of lawsuits for defamation of character.
BTW, I'm going to go off and help out on the Tim Hardaway article. Anyone care to join me? Cleo123 21:21, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Heh, "George Bush is the president of the United States and a recovering alcoholic." That's awesome.
Just kidding... really, though, I'm glad other people are coming to see that the crux of the matter is unspecific Wikipedia policy. There is nothing in WP:BLP that directly makes an exception to WP:LEAD, yet a lot of editors feel it implies an exception. If so, let's have it be explicit. Pretty please? --Jaysweet 01:50, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

LEAD V BLP is false polarisation. The article should be written per BLP, i.e. negative material must be properly sourced and treated from NPOV. Then the lead should be a summary of the article, so that people can find out the basics without having to read the whole thing. The problem occurs when these procedures are not followed. There are two problems with this lead. One is that there is not enough material on his general career. The other is that there is resistance to a proper summary of the article. You cannot summarise an article by omitting all mention of a third of the content. Cleo123 should really tone down the rhetoric. It's not helpful. We work by analysis, not emotion. Tyrenius 02:51, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry that you seem to see my contribution as less than helpful. My argument is quite well thought out and my intention is certainly to be helpful. I believe I have made an excellent point here which is truly intended to inspire analysis. There is no "emotion" here. I'm not sure where your commentary is coming from. I have presented a very logical argument, which is intended to encourage a broader range of thought.
Tyrenius, if you truly believe that WP:LEAD is an iron clad rule, let's play it out to its logical conclusion. You have said that the "problem occurs when these procedures aren't followed." I suspect that the reverse may more likely be the case. Let's go through all of the celebrity biographies we can find on Wikipedia and include summaries of the controversies in the article leads using nuetral fact based language. It is not something I agree with, but it may be a very valuable experiment to illustrate the point that there is a flaw in the guideline. I suspect that our edits would be reverted very quickly. I would also be somewhat concerned that literal adherance to WP:LEAD would result in unjust blocking for vandalism. Tyrenius, would you support such an experiment? Cleo123 03:35, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Cleo123, what you are describing about going around changing articles is essentially what WP:POINT is all about. Tyrenius is right, appealing to emotion is a type of red herring logical fallacy. Stick to the verifiable and sourced information and apply it per guidelines and policies. (Netscott) 03:47, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for proving my point. You seem to be acknowleging the fact that inserting summaries of controversies into biographical article leads would cause disruption on Wikipedia. You, thereby, seems to be acknowleging the fact that there is a flaw in the guideline. If you believe, as you and Tyrenius have argued here, that this guideline is an iron clad rule you should be eager to apply your interpretation of the guideline throughout Wikipedia. (of course, using only verifiable and sourced information) (Netscott). your rigid interpretation of the guideline seems to be limited to individuals who have made homophobic or racist remarks. Can you understand why other editors might feel that you are exercising some sort of editorial bias?
My argument is a logical one, not an emotional one. If my words inspire an emotional reaction in you, perhaps that is because I have cut to the core of the matter. Cleo123 04:04, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually no, just an observation. Both you and User:Bus stop have been making appeals to emotion. Tyrenius is right in calling a spade a spade here. (Netscott) 04:07, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Cleo123, your innuendos about Netscott are going into personal attack territory. Please desist and address the matter at hand, not speculation about an editor in this way. Tyrenius 04:36, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I am sorry, but I do not see how my remark above could be considered a personal attack. It certainly is not meant to be. I have addressed the matter at hand, which is discretionary application of the policy. Richards' biography is being treated differently than other celebrity biographies, which constitutes a form of editorial bias from a global perspective. I am defending WP:BLP, discussing the editor's position as he has expressed it on this page. I have not commented on the editor, I have commented on his contributions. There is no innuendo or speculation, I have stated facts. Netscott has very clearly expressed his position.
I understand that you, personally, do not agree with my editorial position. However, to imply that my comment above constitutes a personal attack strikes me as improper considering your position. "Accusing others of making personal attacks should not be done lightly, particularly if you are involved in a dispute." Please, explain how my comment is in "personal attack territory" because I truly do not see how it is. Cleo123 05:43, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
The comment "your rigid interpretation of the guideline seems to be limited to individuals who have made homophobic or racist remarks" is clearly an implication that the editor is prejudiced, i.e. an attack on him personally. It is always advisable to steer clear of anything that could be seen as a comment on the editor or it can end up very messy. Just some friendly advice. Tyrenius 06:36, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Absolutely not! In no way, shape or form was I "implying" anything of the kind. I was referring very specifically to Netscott's edits to the Michael Richards article, the Tim Hardaway article and his remarks on this page regarding what would appear to be a selective enforcement of WP:Lead's inclusion of controversies, as is being discussed at length on this page. I have made a valid, fact based comment regarding his contributions. In no way was I "implying" anything about Netscott, personally! You are reading something between the lines, that just isn't there. Indeed, what you are saying makes little sense. Netscott's edits clearly condemn racism. Why would myself or anyone else accuse him of being prejudiced? Thanks for the friendly advice. An assumption of good faith would be appreciated. Cleo123 07:31, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
I can assure you I was AGF, just concerned you might not have realised how the remarks could be taken. Tyrenius 02:34, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
I have already suggested that the emotion is on the other side of the fence. The pro-lead camp has indulged in edit wars and personal attacks. Arguing against someone who is emotionally invested in their edit can be a losing battle. For my part, I went out and conducted research on similar articles in an appeal to logic. When I observed that leads of other articles didn't mention petty controversies, the response from the pro-lead camp boiled down to: "Those articles are all wrong". Bulbous 15:00, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Let me say, unemotionally, that there is a trend among many to take the self righteous road. It is always to condemn racism to the umteenth degree. It is always to condemn antisemitism to the umteenth degree. It is always to condemn homophobia to the umteenth degree. It is not the maintaining of a neutral point of view, as we are supposed to be about. The very existence of a separate Mel Gibson article just to heap shame upon him for his antisemitic utterances when stopped for drunk driving is the same sort of thing. I can assume all the good faith I want, but the same editors are in all instances advocating to condemn the subjects of articles for stepping out of the bounds of political correctness. They do not practice this condemnation within bounds of balance. I'm sorry, but they try to go as far as they can go. They seem to think that they should use Wikipedia as a tool to condemn people who have made missteps in certain areas that they apparently are highly sensitized to. The Michael Richards article is well balanced, now. But, before Tyrenius got here, it's state of being is the clearest evidence for what I'm trying to say here. All one has to do is look back on the Michael Richards article before Tyrenius got here to see the over the top condemnation that prevailed. I can now see that the Laugh Factory incident has to be mentioned in the intro paragraph. But I also remember the argument over whether or not the intro paragraph could mention Richards' stand up work. I guess all's well that ends in the well. Bus stop 05:14, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Bus Stop, I just want to say how much I absolutely agree with you about this problem. I've withheld my POV here, but honestly, I don't think the Laugh Factory incident was meant by Richards to be racist at all.. I think he was just using the most offensive word he could think of, and the fact that it had racial connotations was incidental to him at the time. (Of course, that's a horribly insensitive thing to do, but I don't think he intended to evoke that level of hurt)
But yeah, that's pretty much the first thing people think of when they think of Michael Richards right now, so it's hard to justify leaving it out of the intro.
Mel Gibson is stickier. On one hand, I suspect that, drunk or no, he at least partially meant some of the things he said. On the other hand, Gibson's career is much more expansive than Richards', and I can't honestly say the first thing I think of when I hear of Mel Gibson is anti-Semitism....
Meh, just a few musings here. This is a tough thing, and there are some editors who seem to want to expunge all controversies from leads, and some who want to, as you say, heap shame on anyone who has ever been accused of intolerance on any level. That's why I was hoping for some explicit text in WP:BLP, but it sounds like we'll just have to rely on folks like Tyrenius and the other serious contributors in this thread to reach consensus. --Jaysweet 15:21, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Jaysweet -- I just don't think there should be two Mel Gibson articles. He is not such an important or multifaceted person to require two articles. Whatever happened when he got stopped for drunk driving can be put in one single article on Mel Gibson. And doing so requires the editorial decisions that really should be thought about. Quite frankly, the Mel Gibson DUI incident is editorial diarrhea mouth. It's totally improper to devote a separate article to a negative and minor incident in a relatively minor person's life. Bus stop 04:12, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Getting there

I think the lead is now doing a good job and has achieved the balance that is necessary. The main text now demands expansion and I think a good way to do this would be a separate section on Seinfeld, as it's covered very briefly at the moment. 9 years must have produced a significant amount of material worth including — catch phrases, memorable scenes or episodes, news stories, crises, ratings history, interviews etc. Tyrenius 06:41, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Also, both of the trivia items are related to the Laugh Factory incident. D'oh... --Jaysweet 15:25, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Vietnam veteran

It would seem the correct term is "Vietnam era veteran". Tyrenius 07:53, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

I was thinking the same thing myself. If not then the full explanation, "Vietnam Veteran stationed in Germany" for the intro. (Netscott) 08:58, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
"Vietnam era Veteran (stationed in Germany)" is the fact. Tyrenius 06:11, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Use the talk page

Please don't just keep reverting edits in the article. Use the talk page to discuss them and come to an agreement. Tyrenius 09:32, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Apologies and Explanation of my Edits

First off, I want to apologize sincerely if I have stepped on any toes by making edits without first seeking consensus. I felt that the changes were significant enough to warrant immediate attention but slight enough that having a group discussion would perhaps be trivial or at the very least time better spent on other issues.

The article, before my edit, had a trivia section at the bottom, reposted here:


The first bit of trivia struck me as very off. It was directly a response to the section regarding the incident, yet was written and put in in a place where it seemed just matter of fact. I do find it interesting, perhaps even relevant to mention his previous work with African-Americans, but did not approve of the misleading, "I'll just slip this in to get the last word" nature of its placement in the article. Then I saw that the next two bits of "trivia" were also directly related to the incident. If the intention of protecting this article is to maintain impartiality to the event, than placing trivia that is directly related to the event or is intended to expand on background information to the event somewhere else in the article is not impartial. It creates a back door for biases and also puts those facts in a place where they lose real context. Trivia should be reserved for more universal facts such as the last bullet regarding Norm MacDonald or perhaps what Richards' favorite flavor ice cream is. Anything stemming from such a controversial event, an event that is so defining that it could be considered its own subject for a separate article, should be kept with that section. I hope the editors protecting this article agree with me and see how the placement of these details at the bottom of the article is both unfair to Mr. Richards and to the intensity of the event as well as to anyone researching either subject. If there is dispute over my edit, however, by all means revert the article back and look forward to me arguing this point further to reach a consensus.

As far as the changes I've made: of the 3 bullets, two of them were related to parody, so I created a sub-section similar to those found on other articles for such media reactions. The bullet regarding his work with African-Americans in the past seemed inappropriate in the trivia section but biased in the section related to the event. I considered the option of deleting outright, but it is a verifiable fact and does seem, to me at least, to be relevant enough that deleting it now that it's been part of the article would be just as biased as putting it in the article to begin with. I finally decided on the subject heading I went with to give it a context I felt appropriate and least biased, as other editors can now enter other facts, either positive or negative, regarding Richards' previous work with African-Americans.

Thank you

--Crazytonyi 08:38, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Material about the Michael Richards show belongs with other information on the show. To set up a section on his work with African Americans is to instigate an editorial argument. Otherwise it needs to be shown that this is an argument which is merited by coverage in secondary sources. Likewise to say the other two mentions are a reaction to the LFI is an editorial interpretation of these incidents. We should just present the facts neutrally and let readers make their own interpretation. The heading that they are references to the LFI also emphasises that section, which is already quite large enough. Cultural references can include any other references to him, not necessarily related to the LFI. Tyrenius 02:04, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, maybe if we delete the whole section and ban any mention of it at all, we can hope that everyone will forget about it and it won't be a problem anymore. Here's my take: 1) If the only trivia/cultural references being mentioned in some separate section are related to the incident, they are not about Michael Richards, they are about the incident. 2) Those two media references were about the incident. We are not adding emphasis nor an editorial by listing pop culture parodies to the incident. By that same logic, any pop culture references to Martin Luther King's "I had a dream" speech should be kept in the main "Martin Luther King" article and never mentioned in the same context as the speech, lest we run the risk of an editorial. Those references ARE an editorial, and any references, positive or negative, to the incident should be kept in the context of that incident. Mentioning that he worked with African Americans on a show that bombed 7 years ago is just an obvious attempt to build up his character after the incident without seeming partial. But if we mention any FACTS about his previous work within the context of that incident, we are not creating an editorial, we are showing a full picture, one that, in the utopia that is supposed to be wikipedia, others could add to get any even more informed picture. But instead, out of an attempt to be politically correct in the name of impartiality, this page has become a mine field. You can't protect this page forever, it's not even worth it. It was a newsblip that upset people and possible ruined a man's career, but in the end, it was hardly the holocaust or the Taliban. I agree, the section IS getting too big and it's getting ridiculous to protect it or keep things in their "impartial" place. Honestly, the only reasonable solution is to move all relevant information related to the incident to its own article and have a two line summary and a like on his page. If people are that eager to vandalize it or show an impartial side, at least it would be on the proper page rather than protecting Michael Richards' entire life. I noticed that his military service wasn't brought up until after the incident, doesn't that suggest an editorial as well? Suddenly he's a great guy and a loyal American now that his image has been tarnished? This entire section needs its own page, and I think we'll quickly see how much people are interested in reading about his early life or his work on "The Michael Richards Show".

Crazytonyi 03:56, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

To say it's about the incident and not the man is not correct, because they are inseparable. One cultural reference mentions his real name and the other his TV name, so he's named in both. Other items can be added to that section also in due course. The article does not say he's "a great guy and a loyal American". That is something you have read into it, which you are welcome to do. Of course his military service is a valid part of his life and should be included, and it is included neutrally. Re. your idea of a separate article on the LFI, this has already been done and deleted. If you want to take part in this article, please read the archived debates first, so we don't have to repeat the same arguments all over again. There's no proper comparison between this article and Martin Luther King. Tyrenius 04:18, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
We have a problem to tackle. It is, how to write the article about Michael Richards. All negatives and positives are to be contained in that article. It is not a very long article right now. Why should it be split into two articles? The problem is one of reasonableness. Reasonable people disagree. What else is new? Bus stop 04:30, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I've said on more than one occasion that the necessity for this article is to expand the rest of it. This will automatically reduce the prominence of the LFI section. Indeed reasonable people disagree, but, being reasonable, manage to come to an accommodation through reasonable discussion. Tyrenius 04:49, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Crazytonyi! Welcome, to the Michael Richards Page! Let me be the first to warn you that this article is a veritable vortex of dissent and discord! Prudent editors generally high tail it out of here pretty quickly - but if you are anything like the rest of us (and based upon your moniker, you may be) you'll be sucked right in. Be prepared to argue the same points over and over again for many months to come! LOL! I'm kidding - sort of! LOL
Actually, I think you have brought up a very valid point. It's always interesting to see things through a fresh set of eyes! Your observation about the "Trivia" section becoming an extension of the Laugh Factory section is dead on. The trivia section was created very shortly after the Laugh Factory section was "locked down". Initially, it contained nothing but LF related items that painted Richards in a negative light. I'll admit, I am the editor who added the bullet regarding African American actors on the Michael Richards Show. In truth, I did it only to balance the slanted view that had been presented. I'll agree with Tyrenius that it is more properly placed in the new Michael Richards Show section. I don't think that "cultural references" is a good heading, however, because it's too limiting. The "Man In the Moon" bullet is now lost, as a result. Also, the South Park caricature also relates to the LF incident. I think the section should be called Trivia and we should find trivia that is unrelated to the Laugh Factory Incident.
As for the seperate article suggestion, I suggest that you go read the AFD discussion (or as I call it WWIII). If you go back and read the talk page archive, you'll get a much better idea of the many bridges we have already crossed here. FYI - Richards military service was included in the pre-Laugh Factory Incident article. Editors deleted it during the LF debate. It's only recently made it's way back into the article. In the end, I think Tyrenius has it right. We all need to focus on fleshing out the rest of the article. Cleo123 21:13, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Trivia sections are discouraged and the information, as much as possible, should be merged back into the main text. I didn't notice the separate trivia section, and have moved it to be with other material under the heading "representations", as they all have in common the representation of him, not just LFI references. Open to discussion. Tyrenius 00:12, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

You didn't notice that there was a seperate trivia section? With all due respect,Tyrenius, you've contributed to the section several times. [8] I had no idea that Trivia sections were frowned upon, thanks for letting us all know. I propose that the "representations" section be deleted entirely. Are there other articles that have "representations" sections? I've never seen any. Are we creating a new type of section category just for Michael Richards? Cleo123 05:48, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I was trying to simplify an explanation. I had noticed, but I was in the middle of looking at different versions in the history, and then I overlooked it because it was in an unusual place on the page and also because there were two trivia sections in different places, which is also unusual. I hope that's OK. If you read through policies and guidelines, all this stuff is in there. Then you'll know as much as me, or maybe more. Try Wikipedia:Avoid_trivia_sections_in_articles. I have changed the title to the one that is normally used for this kind of information. Tyrenius 02:17, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I understand. Thanks! Cleo123 06:23, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

The fact that the MRS had black actors in the cast is not noteable!

There are black actors on almost every show! On Mel Gibsons page it doesn't say he worked with Jewish acotrs. This is absurd. (spouting off removed by Theresa Knott | Taste the Korn—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Hoponpop69 (talkcontribs) 17:20, 1 April 2007 (UTC).

Please stop your vandalism of the talk page. Bulbous 21:16, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I think Hoponpop69 should be blocked, not warned, for personal attacks and vulgarity. His talk page is full of "final warnings" and it looks like he's already been blocked five times for similar behavior.[9] His remarks above are very blatantly inflamatory. I think it is, perhaps, naive - to believe that a rational dialogue can be conducted with this individual at this juncture. Cleo123 06:40, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I am not primarily concerned with how you speak, but what you say. And more importantly what the article says. In the context of an article in which there is a barrage of criticism for being a "racist," it is appropriate to put in evidence, where such evidence legitimately exists, for a full picture on Richards vis-a-vis the racial angle on this man. Bus stop 18:04, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Why don't we get a consensus on this instead of just YOUR opinion.Hoponpop69 18:27, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

  • The Mel Gibson article has it's own problems, the biggest of which is the separate article devoted only to lampooning him as an antisemite. Richards is not as successful as Mel Gibson in the entertainment world. Correct me if I am wrong. Richards was one of the producers of the show in which the mentioned Black actors played a role. And I believe almost half of the actors on the show being cited were Black. In other words, in Richards' relatively short career, he has played a role in being responsible for proactively arranging for himself to be situated in constructive working relationship with several Black people. It is sourced. It is part of his career history. He was one of the producers of that show therefore he probably had a role in many aspects of putting together that show including choosing the talent. That may not jive with the simplistic notion of the racist that has no other sides to his personality. But it is perfectly legitimate information and relevant, very relevant to this article. If the trivia section lampoons Richards for the Laugh Factory Incident, why can't elsewhere in the article present a countervailing picture? I think you argue for a one dimensional presentation of the life portrayed here. He is obviously more complex than that, however inconvenient and difficult it may be to grasp a true picture. Bus stop 18:49, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Oh please, maybe in the 1950's having a few black castmembers on a show would be noteable, but today it is common place. If anywhere this should be mentioned in the LFI section as to support his claims that he is not racist.Hoponpop69 00:05, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be notable to be included. It just has to be factual. I am not saying that it should or shouldn't be included. Tyrenius 02:10, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

In the 1950's racism and discrimination were more prevalent. But calling Richards a racist, as I think you would have to admit some people do, places Richards in a category that is an anachronistic throwback to that point in time. I think that factor justifies inclusion of facts that counter that point of view. This is not to say that mention of those facts would necessarily be welcome in just any article. But in the context of an article in which a broad accusation of "1950's style" behavior concerning race relations is being leveled at the subject of the article, I think that countervailing evidence assumes enhanced importance. Bus stop 02:19, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I think there is a valid point to be made that mention of the actor's race is superfluous. But in this article it is not superfluous. The racial angle already exists in this article. It would be selective suppression of information to leave such information out. Race is the underlying issue in all of the items in the "References in popular culture" section. Bus stop 10:28, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I do happen to think that the race of the actors mentioned is not relevant. No other named actor has his race mentioned in the main article. Although you may perceive that a racial angle to the article justifies this mention, the only references to race outside of the LFI appear as you mentioned in the "pop-culture" section, which really only reflects the LFI incident anyway. Absent those two sections and the article is racially neutral. Bulbous 13:03, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I take issue with one word: reflects. The "pop-culture" section doesn't exactly reflect the Laugh Factory Incident. What it does is relate to the LFI. It refers to the LFI. In fact, it is commentary on the LFI. So, my question is: If the commentary on the LFI is permissible in the pop-culture section, why shouldn't it be permissible in the "Television and film career" section? As long as it's sourced, what other requirement must it meet? Bus stop 14:23, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Interesting thought. I think I may have mis-spoken about the "pop-culture" section. I have re-read this section and I note that only one item appears to relate to the LFI. Also, the entire section is written without reference to race. So, the mention of the actor's race elsewhere in the article is still out of line. Bulbous 15:36, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
  • The entry about Apologies to Jesse Jackson relates to the LFI, and it is about race. Basically, the whole article is swamped by racial issues. It is improper to selectively rule out mention of race. I concede that in another context mention of race would be out of place. It would imply that it were extraordinary. But in relation to someone who is considered to be racist, it takes on a different meaning. It no longer is about the race of the actors. It is about the relationship between the subject of the article and people of that race. I think that context determines meaning. Bus stop 15:58, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me that mentioning the racial disposition of only two of the actors in the entire article is, in fact, "selectively ruling out mention of race". Bulbous 18:22, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Michael Richards is characterized as being a White racist. He is accused of harboring negative feelings towards Black people. Why would it be pointed out that any of the actors are White? He is not accused of hating White people. There exists no need to demonstrate his convivial relationships with White people. Would you want the racial identity of the White actors mentioned also? Bus stop 18:36, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I would not say that those characterizations that you mentioned are present in this article, although they may be a popular opinion elsewhere. The LFI description is a fairly balanced and accurate depiction of a current event (though I disagree with parts of it), and I would not say those words paint him as a racist (even though they describe what could be considered a "racist" outburst). It seems that you're adding a little bit of POV into this article where there previously isn't much. Bulbous 22:07, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

His own words paint him as a racist. On the web site: there is a picture of the cast of the show. Why not just include that picture, adjacent to that section of the article? Bus stop 00:20, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't believe that one stupid outburst paints him as a racist. But your idea of a picture is an excellent solution! Put it up, if it's public domain. Bulbous 15:33, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, It has been done. Bus stop 01:32, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone else find the opening section overly long and detailed?

Currently, I find that the second paragraph repeats in excessive detail what can be found later in the article:

Richards began his career as a stand up comedian, first stepping into a national spotlight when he was featured on Billy Crystal's first cable TV special. He went on to become a series regular on ABC's Fridays. Prior to Seinfeld, he made numerous guest appearances on a variety of television shows including Cheers, Night Court, Miami Vice and St. Elsewhere. His film credits include So I Married an Axe Murderer, Problem Child, and UHF. After Seinfield, Richards starred in his own sitcom, The Michael Richards Show, which lasted one season. After his series was canceled, he returned to his roots in stand up comedy.

I think this could be reduced to 1 or 2 sentences, with a lot of the very specific references (Billy Crystal, Night Court, Problem Child, etc.) removed, as they can be found in the article body. To summarize an article in the lead is one thing; to essentially repeat it verbatim is quite another.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 17:00, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

  • It is well written, well sourced, unquestionably true -- no I do not find the opening section overly long and detailed. Bus stop 17:13, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually, the pargaraph I cited is not sourced at all (and "well written" and "unquestionably true" are debatable), but that has little to do with my point, which is that the paragraph is extraordinarily redundant, since the exact content appears again a few pagraphs later.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 17:31, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
  • I thought it was fine myself but I'm open to suggestions. What were you thinking TFMWNCB? (Netscott) 17:28, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm thinking making it shorter, less listy, more general, less detailed and eliminiate some of the specific references that are covered later.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 17:31, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, could you formulate and post here a version that better corresponds to what you are suggesting? (Netscott) 17:33, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not much of a writer, but I would favor something along the lines of:
"Richards first worked as a stand-up comedian and later embarked on a television career, appearing as a guest in numerous talk shows and sitcoms. After co-starring in Seinfeld, Richards starred in his own sitcom, The Michael Richards Show, which lasted one season. He has appeared in several feature films."
I like to keep things simple.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 17:41, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Seems like a logical modification to me. Maybe a touch more expansion just to better counterbalance the whole LFI part of the intro. but other than that it looks good to me. (Netscott) 17:45, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I am absolutely opposed to a re-reduction in the opening paragraph. Redundancy is not a factor; Tyrenius took great pains to point out that the lead paragraph *should* reflect the later content. We all just took great pains to expand it; why would we consider reducing it again? Bulbous 22:27, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

"Reflect" is different from repeat in unnecessary detail. Do you find my my concise version does not summarize the information later expanded upon in the main section?--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 23:18, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
I, too, think that the paragraph is effective in its current form. My understanding is that according to WP:LEAD, the opening should be able to stand on its own as a summary of the entire article. As is, one can obtain all of the significant information in a consolidated form by reading only the lead. By highlighting Richards major credits, certain readers' would (or should) be enticed to "read on". I think the "credits" are effective in "jarring a reader's memory" as to how they "might know" Richards. Likewise, other readers, who only know him from Seinfeld or the Laugh Factory Incident might be struck by some other moment of recognition, which might inspire further reading.
I think the reason the paragraph may seem redundant is that we still need to flesh out the remainder of the article with more detail. I am very busy these days, but if I get a chance in the next couple of weeks - I will certainly try to add more to other sections of the article. I hope everyone will join me. It occurred to me that we may also want to "lift" some of the better written material from the Seinfeld and Michael Richards articles and merge/adapt it for our purposes in this article. Cleo123 07:34, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't have a strong opinion either way... I do see logic in TFMWNCB's proposed version but I essentially am in equal agreeance with Cleo123 and Bulbous' logic. (Netscott) 07:48, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Can someone add this?

Hi I think I have another reference to the Laugh Factory incident, can you please add the following?:

"Bishop Lamont, a West Coast hip hop artist signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment label, has made fun of Richards in his song "Fukk Kramer Radio" from his mixtape N*gger Noize. In the song, Bishop Lamont calls Richards a racist, and makes fun of him for his outburst at the Laugh Factory."

WestCoastRydaz mentions it here, fifth paragraph. --- 19:08, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

This is clearly defamatory and no useful purpose is served by adding it to the article. Cleo123 04:52, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I am sorry, I thought that it might be useful for the popular culture references section to include another reaction to his outburst. Please assume good faith, I only wanted to help, that is why I didn't create an account add it there myself, instead I chose to discuss it here. Thank you anyway. --- 20:00, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
There is no reason to apologize for trying to be helpful. :) Acalamari 20:06, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Inserting defamatory material into the biography of a living person is not being helpful. Although this user may not have "created an account", they are obviously familiar with Wikipedia policy. Cleo123 23:42, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
True. I should have remembered that when posting that message. Acalamari 16:13, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

How is it defamatory if I am reporting something? Whether you like it or not, that song is still there, and the rapper is fairly well known in hip hop circles, he even has an article on Wikipedia. I really do not understand what you mean by this, we are not allowed to add information about someone's reaction to his outburst simply because it makes him look bad? There are obviously going to be reactions to what happened at the Laugh Factory that will criticize Richards. As far as I know, unless it is your own opinion or if you don't have a source, then it should be removed, but it is not my opinion, it is someone else's, who chose to make a song about the Laugh Factory incident, and it is sourced, I gave you the link to the website. Just so you know, I am not asking you to add it anymore, just don't say it is defamatory simply because it makes him look bad, the song is there, he should have thought about what he was doing before his outburst. Besides, isn't this Wikipedia's job? To report something? --- 02:38, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not an advertising service. What value is added to the Michael Richards article by inserting a promotion for some largely unknown rapper's song. Is it notable? I don't think so. It would appear to be no more than a personal attack on Richards' character that brings no value to the article. At Wikipedia we attempt to present a nuetral point of view. Cleo123 07:42, 15 May 2007 (UTC) your proposal is quite unlikely to achieve consensus as it fails the "properly sourced" (see WP:BLP criteria (i.e. while it's sourced, it came from a little-known site with a highly partisan POV, and not recognized as a legitimate source of news per WP:RS). That said, I agree with you I do not see your action as defamatory, and you have been civil unlike some editors who are failing to abide by WP:AGF (and should be careful not to break WP:CIV#ICA). Don't worry about it and happy editing. Cheers. Tendancer 17:11, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
There is no evidence to suggest that I have not assumed good faith. I have merely commented on the nature of the material proposed for insertion into the article. I see nothing uncivil in my remarks. Tendancer, I suggest you familiarize yourself with WP:HARRASS and WP:STALK. If you persist in following me about and flaming, you will be reported. Consider that a formal warning. Cleo123 23:58, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I find it amusing this is at least the 2nd time you have threatened me (in addition numerous attempts to imply I am a sockpuppet among other WP:NPA and WP:CIVIL violations on this talk page. There seems to be quite a few similar posts towards other editors you've made in the past week just checking your recent edit history. As editors on other pages suggested, if you believe you have a case I recommend you report me and at least two other editors you have made these "warnings" against within the past week to WP:AN immediately--as I notice you have been making a lot of these warnings/threats to myself and others yet have not followed through, let me know if you don't know where the RFC for user conduct boards are and I can give you the links, I assure you me and several others would be very enthusiastic in having admins review pages on which you have participated on. Hope that helps. Thanks! Tendancer 19:20, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
You did not assume good faith. You immediately assumed that I was trying to add defamatory material. The way you were acting, it was like I already started an edit war and never took the time to explain my edits, that is how you made me feel. Whether or not you think you were not rude is irrelevant. You made me feel bad for simply suggesting something. You could have just told me that what I wanted to add might not be very appropriate or say something similar that was not in such a rude tone, but you chose not to. Also, whether or not the song itself is very notable is not very important (in my opinion, I might be wrong, but that is why I am discussing it here), I suggested that someone could add this because I thought the artist is notable (since he has a Wikipedia article, the article isn't a stub, and he is signed to a major record label). You don't even have to name the song and everything, you can just say that rapper Bishop Lamont has criticized Richards for his outburst, that is it. I continued the discussion further down the page. --- 00:33, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
The material is defamatory. It is a simple statement of fact. I would hope that you realize that calling someone a racist in an encyclopedia article would not be appropriate. There was nothing personal intended. I'm sorry if I made you "feel bad". I was commenting on the nature of the material, not you, personally. As for Bishop Lamont, his article indicates that he has yet to release an album. That does not sound particularly notable to me. I have tagged the article for its lack of citations and am considering nominating it for deletion. I note that you have contributed somewhat substantially to Lamont's biography. I suggest you focus your efforts on adding reliable sources to the article that establish notability. Cleo123 00:59, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I have offered an alternate version/wording, in which he just criticizes him for his outburst. Does that sound any better? If not, then will I be allowed to add it if his major record label debut album will end up being Platinum/Multi-Platinum (that is pretty notable)? --- 01:06, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you Tendancer for being civil, however, as I said above, I do not care anymore if it does get added or not, I just want to clear a few things up. First, I am not trying to advertise for the guy, I just thought that since the guy has a Wikipedia article, and is signed to a major record label, then it might be useful to add another reaction. Cleo123 doesn't really seem to be listening to what I am saying, I am not trying to add defamatory material into this article, I am merely trying to add another reaction to his outburst, I do not see how that is not neutral, it is not my opinion, it is about someone else's opinion, who chose to make a song about what happened at the Laugh Factory. The only reason I thought it might be notable is because (as I mentioned before) he has a Wikipedia article, I thought that is pretty notable. Seems not. Cleo123, I encourage you to review Wikipedia:Assume good faith and Wikipedia:Civility. Thank you. --- 19:54, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining yourself. If the song was at the top of the Billboard charts or if the rapper had some kind of connection to the incident it might be worthy of inclusion. As is it's just an obscure person's opinion, that happens to be defamatory. I would encourage you to open an account and have a look at WP:BLP before suggesting any similar contributions to biographies of living people. Cleo123 00:26, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
How is the person obscure if he is important enough to have a Wikipedia article and is signed to a major record label? I am willing to accept that, however, this summer he is supposed to release his debut album, if it sells well (Platinum or maybe even Multi-Platinum), can I mention it then (if he is a platinum or multi-platinum selling artist, he becomes pretty notable)? I have my reasons for not creating an account, and I also think you should have a look at Wikipedia:Assume good faith and Wikipedia:Civility. --- 00:40, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I would like to point out that the citation also does not support the proposed addition. The citation merely notes that Michael Richards is mentioned - it does not use language similar to the proposal. Bulbous 21:13, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
That is still not an excuse for Cleo123 to be acting like that. --- 21:25, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Besides, if it doesn't use the same language, then you could have just used something such as "Bishop Lamont, a West Coast hip hop artist signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment label, mentions Richards' outburst at the Laugh Factory in his song "Fukk Kramer Radio", from his mixtape N*gger Noize.". However, I already told you, I do not care anymore if it is added or not, the only reason I am still here is because I wanted to clarify a few things, which I think I did, if someone still has questions, then ask me, as long as you are being civil. --- 21:39, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm, I seem to have found the song online, here it is. That confirms everything that I said before. So I have proof for the song, that it exists, and that it calls Richards a racist and that it makes fun of him for it. The other part of the artist being notable is up to you to decide, since I thought that having a Wikipedia article is notable enough. The article isn't just a stub either. If this is not good enough, then I guess I will just have to give up until Bishop Lamont releases his major record label debut album after which he will become more notable. By the way, I striked out my old comments when I said that I don't care anymore, since they would pretty much contradict now that I have more proof. --- 22:08, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

I have to disagree with you on your whole premise. Just because the *person* making the statements may be notable, does not mean that their statements are automatically relevant. How many other comments by minor celebrities are included in the article? Even Jamie Foxx's comments are no longer in the article.
In any case, "Bishop Lamont" is no more notable than myself. Wikipedia articles can be created by anyone. That criteria doesn't establish notability. And being signed to a record label does not equate to notability. Musical acts are signed daily in the hopes that they will *become* notable. Bulbous 15:27, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I would like to have this same conversation in late August after his debut album is released, and then see if he is indeed no more notable than you are. However, if Bishop Lamont's album goes platinum/multi-platinum, then not only is he more notable than you, but he will also deserve a Wikipedia page (although I, and some other editor whom I have notified of Cleo123's intention to nominate the article for deletion, will do everything to try to keep the article here). Therefore, I think that maybe his comments could be added if he achieves success. If not, then I am very sorry for wasting everyone's time with this subject. --- 19:46, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't call that a fair statement. This artist has released two albums by a major indie label, according to WP:N (look under people -> Music) that makes him notable; though it still wouldn't make his opinions regarding Michael Richards appropriate for his article. Tendancer 19:24, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
On a closer look one of the albums is yet to be released, that does present a weaker case but though I'm no connoiseur in that style of music, judging from the other artists on the label's roster (e.g. Eminem and 50 cents), there's probably a close-to-nil chance of an AFD on his article passing as "delete" and I would be amused to see an AFD for that happen as some have threatened. Tendancer 19:32, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
Actually, to be more specific, the artist in question is "working on his debut album". Well, who isn't? I suspect that the article might not survive AFD nomination, except for the fact that he may have several projects pending completion. Bulbous 22:18, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
You did not answer my question, Bulbous. I asked you above if it will be appropriate to add a mention of what Bishop Lamont said about the Laugh Factory incident if his album The Reformation will sell enough copies to be certified Platinum or even Multi-Platinum. As for the article not surviving an AfD nomination, I will do everything I can to try and keep the article here. Once again, if I still can't add Bishop Lamont's reaction to Richards' outburst even if his album sells well, thus establishing him as a notable person, then I want to apologize to everyone because I did not mean to waste your time with this issue. --- 01:02, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. I thought I explained myself above. The main point I am trying to make is that the notability of the person does not determine the relevancy of the comments! If Bishop Lamont releases a quadruple-platinum album tomorrow, buys Wal-Mart, shoots R. Kelly on Saturday night live and makes all the newspapers and TV shows, why would that suddenly make his comments more relevant than when he was a nobody? I don't understand that line of thought. Bulbous 12:31, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining yourself. Well then, thank you for taking the time to add your views on this issue, and sorry if I wasted anyone's time. --- 19:36, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Designation as a disgraced person

Hello all. I feel that it is perfectly accurate to describe Richards as a 'disgraced' comedian. He is know best known for his "he's a nigger!" (etc) outburst, which has been extensively debated above.

Labcoat 01:46, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

This is just not going to be accepted; regardless of how "accurate" you consider it to be. You've read WP:NPOV and WP:LIVING? If yes, good. If no, don't be surprised when your proposal gets thoroughly trod upon and summarily rejected. dr.ef.tymac 02:12, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, Labcoat, if my "trod upon" remark sounded abusive. It was not directed at you, but at the proposal to call the man "disgraced" ... it frankly seemed trollish. If I rushed to judgment against the sincerity of your proposal, and you're still out there reading this, my apologies. dr.ef.tymac 23:33, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

dr.ef.tymac, please try to use civil language on this discussion page. The tone of your response borders very narrowly on the abusive. Yes, of course I am familiar with Wikipedia guidelines. Are you? My very simple question is this - can any (non-racist) person now honestly claim that Richards is not disgraced? Nope? Therefore it is a valid description.

Labcoat 04:38, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Heh, the WP contributor who wants to characterize a living individual as "disgraced" in an encyclopedia article ... and who classifies this ignominious distinction as somehow reflective of "honesty" and a litmus test for "racism" calls my response as "bordering on abusive"?! Now that's funny. You sir/madam, are the *first* WP contributor who has ever even *hinted* that my remarks were "abusive" ... indeed, I think they reflect considerable restraint.
Your "simple question" is (let's face it) not really a question, it's a statement of opinion; otherwise why did you answer it, and use it to substantiate your proposal? Your proposed descriptor "disgraced" is not appropriate. Count how many encyclopedia articles (WP or otherwise) describe the subject matter as "X is a disgraced Y" ... then count how many of those refer to non-fictional persons ... then count how many of those refer to living persons ... then count how many of those refer to living persons who have not been convicted of a crime nor charged with a breach of a fiduciary responsibility. How many do you have? ... (hint: try zero).
Sorry if you consider mere disagreement with your personal viewpoints to be "abusive" ... but clearly this proposal lacks merit. Implying someone must be a racist to disagree with you also misses the point. This is not an op-ed piece, or a personal blog, this is an encyclopedia article. dr.ef.tymac 05:53, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

dr.ef.tymac, I did you the courtesy of referring to you by your username, therefore I would be grateful if you could do likewise.

I think the first thing you need to do is calm down, since you seem to be very easily enraged for some reason. If as you state your responses reflects “considerable restraint” on your part, I truly dread what the unrestrained versions would look like.

I said your response bordered on the abusive. I was wrong. It was abusive. And so is the tone and language of your response above.

To describe Richards as disgraced simply isn’t a matter of opinion, it is a fact. His outbursts during the live performance have undoubtedly left him disgraced in the mind of the general public – though it is quite possible that this may change with time. Therefore, whether you or I personally like it or not, his status as a disgraced person is, at least for the time being, objectively accurate.

I really don’t have the time or energy to engage in any further attempts at adding this important descriptor into the article. It seems from the various comments above (and also the edit history of this article) that this article is being artificially maintained to suit the strange brew of whatever motivates the various people that keep guard over it.

Labcoat 02:00, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

If the notion that Richards is a "disgraced" person is truly a "fact", then you should have no trouble sourcing it. Please return when you have a reliable source. Until then, we will consider this to be your opinion. Bulbous 03:12, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Labcoat, I can assure you, the only "restraint" necessary here is my (very charitable) assumption that you really are trying to be taken seriously. This assumption on your behalf may soon be revoked, however, considering you've yet to answer a single *substantive* critique of your proposal, and the only substantiation you *have* offered consists of implicit accusations that everyone who disagrees with you is somehow abusive, dishonest, racist, or pursuing some kind of nefarious hidden agenda.

Have you even stopped to consider that the worst thing about Mr. Richards' outburst/meltdown/tirade was the fact that it simply wasn't funny? Comedians say outrageous and horrible things on stage all the time it is their *job* ... they get *paid* to push the limits, and many get paid quite well as long as *someone* thinks it's *funny*. You ever heard of Sam Kinison? Richard Pryor? Don Rickles? Dave Chappelle? Carlos Mencia? Andrew Dice Clay? Enough said.

Even if you had offered fifteen newspaper and magazine citations to support your "important descriptor" (instead of just *zero*) that still misses the point. This is not People Weekly or Us Weekly, it's an encyclopedia article. That kind of writing is totally inappropriate here. Again I ask you: cite *one* encyclopedia article about a non-fictional, non-criminal, public figure (who did not breach a confidential position of trust and is currently alive) that describes the person as "disgraced". dr.ef.tymac 05:40, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

The definition of "disgraced" which I think is most appropriate in this context is "the state of being strongly and generally disapproved." The only way you could even come close to justifying "disgraced" as factual rather than opinion is to show a scientific opinion poll showing that a supermajority of Americans strongly disapprove of Michael Richards (note that a slight majority would not entail "general" disapproval).
Even if you could demonstrate this (which you can't, because nobody does scientific opinion polls about C-list celebrities), I think it's clear from Wikipedia policy that it would be inappropriate to include such a loaded word in the introduction to an article about a living person. It's just too strong.
Lastly, I dispute your characterization of Richards as now being "best known for" the Laugh Factory incident. While it's clear that the unfortunate incident has cast a regrettable pall over his career, most people are still going to be like, "Oh yeah, that guy from Seinfeld.." --Jaysweet 15:10, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Why would Richards be a disgraced person? Bus stop 19:53, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Allegedly for the "He's a nigger" statement. Unfortunately, I cannot see how this word "disgraced", which is clearly inflammatory and almost inherently POV, can be reasonably used in any objective, neutral article, unless more than one reliable source explicitly uses it and/or at least one reliable source indicates that his "disgrace" is widely recognized. To date, I see no evidence of any kind presented which would be sufficient to use such a judgemental, perjorative word in the article. John Carter 21:13, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Plenty of comedians say things like that on stage. The statement itself is quite frankly beside the point. What was relevant about the laugh-factory incident was the aftermath. (E.g., proliferation on internet video sites, widespread criticism, public apology, revocation of future opportunities to appear at specific venues, etc.) ... even with all that, however, the descriptor is simply not appropriate for an encyclopedia article about this kind of public figure, regardless of how many "reliable sources" use that term. dr.ef.tymac 22:34, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

dr.ef.tymac, are you serious when you suggest that Richards' repeated screams of "he's a nigger!" and his gloating references about lynching towards an African-American member of the audience were actually part of his comedy show?

Labcoat 03:42, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't really matter whether he is saying those statements were part of the act, similar to several of Andrew Dice Clay's statements from stage, or not. However, unless reliable evidence is put forward that explicitly state they were not, it is true that it would be original research on the part of an editor to put that statement in the article. What matters is the inherently NPOV nature of the proposed addition, and that there have yet to be any reliable sources cited to make even considering such a change to the article. John Carter 16:57, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Labcoat, my very simple point is this, assuming you had a reference calling the subject "disgraced" ... that would still not be appropriate here because audiences expect comedians to say outrageous things. It is not a breach of the public trust for a comedian to say horribly offensive things on stage. The very purpose of much contemporary stand-up comedy is to test the limits between public humor and public affront.

British anthropologist Mary Douglas said it well:

   When people throw excrement at one another whenever they meet, either 
   verbally or actually, can this be interpreted as a case of wit, or 
   merely written down as a case of throwing excrement? This is the central 
   problem of all interpretation.

(See Mary_Douglas#Observations_on_Jokes right here on Wikipedia). It is not the responsibility of anonymous WP volunteers to settle fundamental problems of interpretation for the readers. As much as you and I may find the remarks to be *disgraceful* ... that is not enough to characterize Mr. Richards (and by extension, all comedians who say horrible stuff) as a "disgrace". I may not like it, you may not like it, but encyclopedias are simply not the place to make scathing pronouncements based on personal interpretation. Unlike comedians, we don't get that luxury. dr.ef.tymac 20:50, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, if you get to add "disgraced" to Michael Richards' introduction, I have a whole list of folks whose articles I'm gonna add "disgraced" to... For instance, please see the article on Mike Nifong. I think one could make a much stronger case that Nifong is a "disgraced" person, considering that he's already been disbarred, called a "rogue prosecutor" by the state AG, and is likely going to be prosecuted soon. But you'll notice that the article is very careful not to directly condemn Nifong in any way. Facts and timelines are offered, and the ethics charges are outlined, but it is up to the reader to make any final moral judgments.
That is just the way we should model the Michael Richards article. The Laugh Factory incident is described, the public apologies that Richards' offered are detailed, as well as condemnation from well-known public figures like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. At that point, it is up to the reader to decide which adjectives to put in front of Michael Richards name in their own mind. Wikipedia doesn't put the adjectives in for them. --Jaysweet 20:57, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Stand up comics are supposed to push the envelope. The audiences show up because they want to be challenged concerning issues of acceptability and unacceptability of language. In that environment of heightened challenge to the normal restraints to proper speech, it is not at all surprising that things can go awry. Racial insult is a taboo. Whether Michael Richards was searching about for good material or he was genuinely angry -- or both, what transpired has to be understood to have taken place where breaking down the barriers involved in proper speech is accepted and encouraged. That argues against the affixing of the label "disgraced" to him. Bus stop 22:01, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Michael Richards is not disgraced, as far as I'm concerned. He is not a good stand-up comic because he is not witty. Instead, Richards is a physical comic. He gets laughs by the way he moves his body.Lestrade (talk) 04:34, 26 February 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Are the rude, inconsiderate members of the audience considered to be disgraced persons?Lestrade (talk) 03:17, 27 February 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

I love it how people argue that something is not NPOV to push across their point of view or to change an edi - especially when the whole issue is a grey area. In fact, there is no such thing as a NPOV. Again, the issue of him being a 'disgraced' comedian is VERY arguable either way and I would suggest to wikipedians using NPOV arguments to push forward their own view of the world, that Richards is not a 'disgraced' comedian to settle the issue via consensus, rather than bullying others and reverting their changes in order to beat them into submitting to the world as you guys see it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by ToyotaPanasonic (talkcontribs) 07:17, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Fiance and Trip to the Far East

according to a july 13, 2007 posting, richards is currently retired from stand-up comedy and is travelling through the far east visiting holy sites and buddhist groups. also--he's got a fiance...some woman named Beth Skipp. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 2007-07-14.,0,3445059.story

I added it. --Andrewlp1991 22:37, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

First screen kiss

Hi! I think someone has to add that Michaël received his first screen kiss by Jessica Steen, in Trial And Error. I can't do it because this page is protected. Thank you. Sophinouchette 05:04, 5 August 2007 (UTC)


I know the Laugh Factory section has been discussed heavily, but honestly, I can't read pages upon pages of discussion to find one tiny thing, and that's this: Why does the article use the word "pitchfork" when quoting Richards? He clearly (even with the bleep) says "fucking fork." Was it part of some decision to word it this way, or is it a mistake? --Shroom Mage 00:34, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

You are quite right. Months ago when we were bickering about what to include and not to include in the Laugh Factory Incident section, we elected not to quote that specific phrase at all. In any event, someone had agrammatically placed the quote between sentences, so I've removed[10] it.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 01:23, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
So wiki is a 'democracy' now? This is wh ythe site fails.

-G —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:02, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

consensus & democracy - the richards' consortium wins the day!

I don't see why the details of the full rant should not be listed there - or the full extent of it to not be disclosed. what is listed there on the main page is only a shadow of what he said, and it an insult to the NPOV of wikipedia! "He reapeated 'fuck' six times". Not only that, he said to the audience members, "50 years ago you'd be upside down with a fork up your ass" and hysterically calling out to the group of gentlement upstairs "YOU"RE A NIGGER, YOU"RE A NIGGER". The story should be told for what it is. Richards - if this is a lame PR attempt not only are you a racist but a liar. --ToyotaPanasonic (talk) 07:12, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

The story IS told for what it is. There have been pages and pages of discussion on this, over months, and the current revision is accurate, sensible, and conforms to WP:NPOV and WP:BLP. "The story should be told for what it is." And what would that be? Hey, if you have a problem... well... that's your problem. — NRen2k5(TALK), 21:01, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
I am sure there would be a LOT of interest from Wikipedia readers in reading more of his speech at the comedy club, so leaving it out forces readers to leave Wikipedia to get the complete information they were looking for. JayKeaton (talk) 18:54, 29 May 2008 (UTC)