Talk:Michelle Kosilek

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Archive 1

Biography[edit]

It remains problematic that almost all of the biographical material, in addition to its excessive detail, is unsourced. If the source is Kosilek's autobiography, that needs to be made clear.

That said, her autobiography is not a proper third party source in any case, nor is her self-authored promotional material on Smashwords. I'd suggest facing this squarely and removing the lengthy biography. Instead, note that in 2011 she wrote her autobiography and then summarize it in 2 paragraphs. Do that with language like "she wrote" and "she detailed" and "she recounted" rather than "she claimed" or "she contended". But make clear teh source and maintain a sense of proportion.

I suspect that a better WP entry than Michelle Kosilek would have been, and still might be, Kosilek lawsuits. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 15:07, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

There some material under "findings of fact" in the court record HERE, but it's slight by comparison with what we have now. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 21:33, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

I think this is a good suggestion: I greatly reduced the length of the biography in this edit. Part of the issue is that Kosilek's autobiography does not follow a chronological timeline and that the reader would struggle to piece together a chronological narrative from reading it. But I agree that this sort of summary is more in keeping with Wikipedia policy. Just Tidying Up (talk) 21:31, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

That's much better. I'll look it over closely soon. There's much to be done with the rest of this entry, too. For one thing, there are citations to an op-ed in Newsday by John M. Crisp that are used to document biographical details. But the author has no knowledge of Kosilek's bio other than what he's reading in the papers and court decisions, just as we do. He's identified as "John M. Crisp teaches in the English Department at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas". Really not a good bio source. And a lot of the night-of-the-crime detail is superfluous, more CSI than WP. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 17:28, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Gender, pronoun usage[edit]

I notice that there is some inconsistent use of pronouns in the article (both "he" and "she," sometimes in the same sentence). Perhaps someone can clean that up? I have to admit I don't know the protocol, i.e. if there's a point in time before which "he" would be the proper one. 170.164.249.17 (talk) 23:03, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Use of mixed pronouns is discouraged. See the Manual of Style section on identity, which reads:
"[In cases related to gender], we favor self-designation, even when source usage would indicate otherwise. Any person whose gender might be questioned should be referred to by the pronouns, possessive adjectives, and gendered nouns (for example "man/woman", "waiter/waitress", "chairman/chairwoman") that reflect that person's latest expressed gender self-identification. This applies in references to any phase of that person's life, unless the subject has indicated a preference otherwise. Direct quotations may need to be handled as exceptions (in some cases adjusting the portion used may reduce apparent contradictions, and " [sic]" may be used where necessary)."
I have made the necessary reverts to conform to the Manual of Style. Just Tidying Up (talk) 11:52, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Isn't that mischaracterizing the victim? 'Her wife' implies the victim was a lesbian. Since she apparently wasn't a lesbian it would seem stating 'his wife' would be appropriate. I don't care about the feelings of the killer. 98.222.229.107 (talk) 22:58, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
Might I suggest a complete re-write using gender neutral pronouns? It would seem that the use of gender specific pronouns would push a POV. Trilobitealive (talk) 01:39, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I've seen that suggestion come up a lot of times, Trilobitealive, and it has always been shot down because they are considered neologisms. It also really isn't neccesary in this article, as the subject is transgender, which means that she has a clear prefered gender.
Do we have any knowledge of the sexual orientation of the victim? Not that it really matters for pronoun use - we could simply state that she was heterosexual in the article once, if we had the reference for it. ~Mable (chat) 12:02, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Blanking at Michelle Kosilek[edit]

An editor recently blanked several passages from this article, citing them as "unencyclopediac" among other things. Removing over 2000 characters calls for more of an explanation. Just Tidying Up (talk) 22:26, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

I gave an explanation, but I'll give another one.

The only source that says Kosilek ever married anyone named 'Jessica' (in quotations because we have no idea if this human being exists)is Kosilek's self-published internet biography. This falls under WP:SELFPUB and it's criteria:

  • the material is neither unduly self-serving nor an exceptional claim;
  • it does not involve claims about third parties;
  • it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the source;
  • there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity;
  • the article is not based primarily on such sources.

I believe the high-lighted is what is in question. We don't know if Jessica exists, but saying that Jessica did, then this claim involves a 3rd party and thus it is a claim that involve a 3rd party and needs additional support; Secondly, there is reasonable doubt as to its authenticity, as the only source I have found making this claim is Kosilek, and there is no reason to believe that Kosilek had a legally, religiously, culturally, or civically-recognised marriage with anyone named Jessica at any time. Finally--too much reliance is put on Kosilek's word alone for such a broad claim, regardless of the criteria above.

Hope that clarified why I removed it. Solntsa90 (talk) 04:02, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

The way I interpret the indication to avoid selfpub sources which make claims about third parties is this: Wikipedia should not include selfpub statements about a particular, identifiable third party. There are thousands of Jessicas, therefore there is no harm done to any particular person by including this statement. It is reasonable to state that Kosilek stated she had entered into such a relationship. Just Tidying Up (talk) 14:02, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, that would be an unorthodox interpretation of WP:SELFPUB. The way WP:SELFPUB works is that if there is information about ANY living person (it doesn't matter who, so Jessica who even though might not exist, qualifies in this case), it must be cross-checked and verified, lest wiki runs into potential legal trouble. Even if Jessica
Secondly, you ignored the part where I mentioned the considerable doubt as to Kosilek's claims: There is no legal, religious, cultural, or civic institution or authority that recognizes any 'marriage' between Kosilek and a person named Jessica, not even any LGBT organisations or advocacy groups. Thus, we have no way of confirming if this is merely a figment of Kosilek's imagination, or if there really is someone named Jessica: If there is a person named Jessica (and the source didn't fall under the dubious WP:SELFPUB), it falls under WP:BLPSOURCES and it could be potentially libelous to contain information about someone's marriage to a convicted murderer without additional sources that aren't Kosilek's self-published internet biography.
As far as details about what Kosilek said and what wasn't said, I will not post those details as they strictly come from Kosilek's book, and as its a legal matter, this isn't something that is up to merely Kosilek's sole interpretation.
TL;DR: Even if we don't know Jessica exists, we must assume that she does for legal purposes and for reasons of WP:BLPSOURCES as well as all of the information on this possibly living person coming from one biographical source self-published on the internet by a convicted criminal.
I hope that clarified things. Solntsa90 (talk) 19:22, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
A question for you: Do you know of any way that the details in Kosilek's biography can be independently confirmed and verified? Because if not, only statements directly related to Kosilek's own personal life and not directly involving 3rd parties may be used. Such is WP:BLPSOURCES and WP:SELFPUB. Solntsa90 (talk) 19:26, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
This interpretation of the guidelines is needlessly strict, in such a way that useful information which would otherwise be available to readers is removed. There really is nothing wrong with including a statement from a WP:BIO subject, "<this> happened to me as a child", in an article. Even if Kosilek had made bizarre claims (like stating that she was the Queen of England or some such), it would be appropriate to write, "In 2014, Kosilek wrote that she believed herself to be the Queen of England". As far as the definition of marriage, there are people who recognize gay marriage and people who do not. There are churches which recognize it and those which do not. The likelihood that an incarcerated person, "Jessica" would be making any public statements about her marriage to another person on some third-party source is unlikely. Again, the overall effect of your edits seems to be about removing as much information as possible. Is that a good goal? Just Tidying Up (talk) 18:29, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

No, it's not needlessly strict, Wikipedia designed it that way so that potentially libelous lawsuits could be avoided--If there is such a Jessica in existence, she must not be mentioned unless independently verified as it can be potentially libelous to be linked to a homicidal murderer/justice warrior who may/may not want to be represented as supporting such a person.

As for inclusion of non-pertinent details...No, only details which can be considered key to understanding Kosilek's life would be included. If Kosilek thinking that Kosilek was the Queen of England was important to understanding the story, that'd be one thing. But it makes no difference.

As for the marriage...this has nothing to do with gay marriage, as not even any legally-entitled LGBT civic organisations have recognised a marriage between Kosilek and 'Jessica'.

Finally, as for the information I am removing...all to make it read more like a biography of someone who was notable for a crime, and less like a Lifetime Afternoon Special. Solntsa90 (talk) 18:42, 28 December 2014 (UTC)


Can you provide me with substantiated, 3rd party evidence beyond-a-doubt that Jessica is a real person? Only then can such a Jessica be included in this article. Solntsa90 (talk) 18:43, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

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