Talk:Murder of Seth Rich

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Lede Needs Balance[edit]

Fully 2/3rds of the text of the Lede is dedicated to debunking the "right wing conspiracy theories", and virtually the entire of the body is about the conspiracy theories and their debunkment. But buried in the body is the fact that the Rich families' own publicist found a "lead" on the murder that points to Russians, which lends credibility to the theory that this was not simply a standard grade robbery. Also the fact that nothing was apparently stolen from Rich supports the idea that he was killed for reasons other than (non-political) robbery. I believe the Lede is at least twice as long as it should be, given that, from an "overview" perspective, there really isn't much to say. Rich was not noteworthy, except for the fact that he was killed and the conspiracy theories. I think two or three sentences for each side of the issue (conspiracy vs. not conspiracy) should be mentioned in the Lede, plus whatever other information is appropriate, and all of the other information regarding the theories, their condemnations, "fake news" etc... should be put into the body. The whole situation is a mass of details, but the Lede at least should be short and to the point. Most of what is currently included in the Lede should be moved elsewhere.

If you analyze the article on a sentence-by-sentence basis, and classify each sentence as either A) "Information about the Murder of Seth Rich" (the article's title), or B) "Information about the conspiracy theories surrounding the murder of Seth Rich", you'll find that easily 90% of the sentences are best categorized as "B" and not "A". The article should clearly differentiate between "A" and "B", and not mash them all up into the current mess that it's in right now.

Also in the Lede it talks about "conspiracies" as a plural, and then later refers to "conspiracy" as if there is only one, which I think should be resolved. If 90% of the article is going to be about the conspiracy theories, then at the very least they should be presented in a more logical and structured form. Example, Fox News' participation should have it's own separate section. In it's current form, the Article seems to convey the message that 1) Seth Rich was murdered either for unknown reasons, or a robbery, and 2) Anyone that believes there was some kind of a conspiracy is wrong, and believes in "fake news". It reads more like a narrative that condemns conspiracy theorists, and not like an encyclopedic article about "The Murder of Seth Rich". Note I'm not advocating that anything be excluded, but rather the information in the article needs to be restructured and clarified so as to differentiate between the murder, and the conspiracy theories surrounding it.2605:6000:6947:AB00:D54F:D719:F9A0:A888 (talk) 09:02, 11 July 2018 (UTC)

Fully 2/3rds of the text of the Lede is dedicated to debunking the "right wing conspiracy theories", and virtually the entire of the body is about the conspiracy theories and their debunkment. That is because the conspiracy theories are what made this crime notable.
But buried in the body is the fact that the Rich families' own publicist found a "lead" on the murder that points to Russians, which lends credibility to the theory that this was not simply a standard grade robbery. It would be to your advantage to read the debunkings instead of merely complaining about them.
I think two or three sentences for each side of the issue (conspiracy vs. not conspiracy) should be mentioned in the Lede, See False balance. We do not give equal weight to conspiracy theories. Also see Guide to addressing bias for more about the weaknesses of "telling both sides".
The whole situation is a mass of details, but the Lede at least should be short and to the point. The purpose of the lede is to define the subject and summarize the body. The first sentence is used to that purpose. The second sentence points out that it was never solved; one of the most important points about the subject. Following that, the next two paragraphs summarize the narrative of events surrounding the murder, highlighting only the most important details. That is exactly what a lede should be.
Now, we have a policy here called Assume good faith which I hold to very tightly. However, you should understand that AGF is not a suicide pact and using common sense is one of the core pillars of this project. So while I'm assuming your motivations are to improve this project, I'm not required or even expected to ignore the obvious due to those assumptions.
With that in mind, it is quite clear to me that you are suggesting that we re-work the article to give more credence to the conspiracy theories. That is not going to happen, primarily because the conspiracy theories are complete and utter bullshit. The reason this article reads to you like "a narrative that condemns conspiracy theorists" is because most people marginally familiar with this subject are familiar with the bullshit, and the primary duty of an encyclopedia is to inform. To that end, informing our readers about what commonly-repeated claims about the subject are false and explaining what those claims are, why they are false, who invented them, where and when they appeared; and how they spread. Recall that the conspiracy theories are what made this crime notable; they are thus not unimportant, merely wrong. In order to be a good encyclopedia, we must then give all pertinent facts, and emphasize them according to their weight in the reliable sources. I hope this helps. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:17, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
The murder stuff falls squarely into fringe theory territory and must be treated as such. This means, we must avoid the false balance you're proposing. A comment from a political lobbyist about an unspecified lead is less than evidence. It would be excluded if it wasn't the reason why the Riches repudiated him. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 16:51, 11 July 2018 (UTC)

Allow me to join this discussion. What do you mean by "The murder stuff falls squarely into fringe theory territory and must be treated as such." What "murder stuff" are you referring to? StreetSign (talk) 21:02, 11 July 2018 (UTC)

The theory that Rich's murder was related to politics. Maybe I should have said "political murder stuff." --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 21:04, 11 July 2018 (UTC)

OK. The murder remains unsolved. StreetSign (talk) 22:13, 11 July 2018 (UTC)

Yeah, and the political theory has been debunked, so it must be described as such. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 23:18, 11 July 2018 (UTC)

The Gateway Pundit published a story 3 days ago that a "creditable" witness "has conclusive evidence that will bring Rich’s killers to justice within a month". The story states that "two employees of the United States government killed Seth". The story states they were an "ATF agent and the DEA agent". Is the Gateway Pundit considered to be a reliable publication by Wikipedia editors? StreetSign (talk) 16:02, 12 July 2018 (UTC)

Update: I see that the "creditable witness" did not come forward in person. He phoned anonymously to a press conference. So there is no credibility. StreetSign (talk) 16:25, 12 July 2018 (UTC)

Gateway Pundit is about as far as you can get from a credible source and still be on this planet. Acroterion (talk) 16:34, 12 July 2018 (UTC)
+1 --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 17:25, 12 July 2018 (UTC)

You guys are good at separating the wheat from the chaff. StreetSign (talk) 17:15, 12 July 2018 (UTC)

I agree that the Lede is too long and delves into too much about the conspiracy theories. The third paragraph itself almost looks like it could have been cut and pasted from the "debunking" section instead of written as part of the Lede. Et0048 (talk) 03:10, 14 July 2018 (UTC)

As has already been said: The conspiracy theories are the only reason this crime is notable. Without significant coverage of them, this article would be a stub at best, and a fading memory of some AfD regular at worst. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:15, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting that it not be included. I think the second paragraph does a great job of introducing the material by saying "there are these conspiracy theories, but they have been largely debunked." But the paragraph beyond that starts going into the timeline and specific quotes and involves a lot more details. The actual who-said-what-and-when and retractions and the stuff in the third paragraph has a place in the article, but putting it in the Lede makes it sound cluttered and over-detailed. I think all the extra stuff beyond the second paragraph should go in the article itself, not in the Lede. Et0048 (talk) 03:21, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
The spread of the CSes by Fox News and the ensuing fallout was the single most noteworthy event surrounding the murder. I have a hard time thinking of a brief outline of that as being undue for the lede. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 03:30, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
Just for my edification: what are "CSes"? Thanks, NapoliRoma (talk) 05:15, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
I don't disagree. Nonetheless, the article is named "Murder of Seth Rich" and not "Conspiracy theories regarding the murder of Seth Rich." Et0048 (talk) 07:06, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
Agree with Et0048. The third paragraph should be bumped down to the article, or the article renamed. It’s that simple. Jusdafax (talk) 07:33, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
Disagree. The third paragraph summarizes the most notable info about this whole thing. And the lede is not too long.Volunteer Marek (talk) 07:49, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
This murder is unsolved. This article should follow a format similar to the other unsolved murder articles on Wikipedia. [Unsolved Murder Articles on Wikipedia] The "Murder of Seth Rich" article mixes some facts with much opinion, while simultaneously omitting other facts because they are inconvenient. I assume it is done in good faith. StreetSign (talk) 11:33, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
  • @Et0048: That's a better argument for renaming the article. Of course, the counterargument is that we don't call out the conspiracy theories unless we're 1) making it clear that the subject is fictional, e.g. Black Knight satellite conspiracy theory or to differentate it from an article about the (real) base subject, e.g. John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories being contrasted to Assassination of John F. Kennedy. Finally, if we did follow the latter route, we'd have to create a separate article for the murder, which would get deleted and the contents merged into the CS article. Which would then get renamed back to this.
@NapoliRoma:Conspiracy Theories.
@StreetSign: Point out one of those that's only notable for the CSes surrounding it, and then explain why you think that one is better written. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:20, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
@MjolnirPants:"ConSpiracy Theories", I guess? I mean, shouldn't it be "CTs"? (Sorry for the digression, but you can see why I was confused...)--NapoliRoma (talk) 18:36, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
lol Yes, it should have been "CTs". I'm not sure why I went with CSes. Acute dyslexia, I guess. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:01, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
@ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants: I believe that the Seth Rich Murder was noteworthy before the CSes. This murder is notable not because of the CSes. I believe the following are facts and not CSs: Seth Rich was an employee of the DNC, and was killed during a contentious presidential campaign. Seth Rich was said, by his father, to have received a job offer from the Hillary Clinton Campaign just days before his murder. The timeline from when Seth Rich left the bar is long. All this coincided and overlapped with the publication of DNC emails by Wikileaks that resulted in resignations within the DNC. The search for the "leaker" abruptly ended after Seth Rich was killed. The Hillary Clinton Campaign has never acknowledged the job offer to Seth Rich. Neither the Hillary Clinton Campaign nor the DNC has offered a monetary reward for information leading to an arrest or conviction. The email accounts used by Seth Rich have been forensically identified, and the emails have been published. The murder is unsolved, and undisputed, and documented facts (most notably the job offer from the Hillary Clinton Campaign just days before his murder) belongs in the article. I have not made any edits to the article, but have been subjected to unnecessary rudeness by a small number of editors who are determined to prevent discussion of the facts. StreetSign (talk) 17:03, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
You appear to be attempting to assemble a series of unrelated facts into some sort of sinister plot; this article is not the place for conspiracy theorizing. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 17:26, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
By the way, there was no "DNC leaker." Those were GRU agents spearphishing and malware-attacking DNC employees. You should probably keep up on the actual news, as evidenced by the indictments of 12 Russian military intelligence agents by Robert Mueller. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 17:30, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
Indictments are not evidence, and they are not proof. They are accusations needing to be proved. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:09, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
The third paragraph should stay in the lead as is. As was stated before, the conspiracy theories were what made the murder notable, there's no reason to rename the article, and I agree with those editors that have pointed out the obvious: that there's people coming here to try and give equal weight to the conspiracy theories as fact, which (as has also been pointed out) is not appropriate in an encyclopedia. Amsgearing (talk) 18:51, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
StreetSign, you have been pushing conspiracy theories as fact at this article for months now. If you don't stop, "rudeness" will be the least of your concerns. I'm being completely serious: I'm very close to dragging you to WP:AE and asking for a topic ban if you don't pick another subject to edit on WP. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:01, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
@ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants My objective was to obtain consensus for including the Hillary Clinton campaign job offer to Seth Rich in the article. That is it. Nothing else. That is not a conspiracy theory. I know you disagree with putting it in the article. That is OK. No hard feelings on my part. I hope that we can agree to discuss ways to improve the article on the Talk page without threats and insults. StreetSign (talk) 19:41, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
You've been pushing us to highlight or include various details that support the conspiracy theories, but otherwise do not matter to the subject one bit. If you're not pushing conspiracy theories, then your thought process about this subject (literally the only subject you have ever edited about on this project) is so bizarre that you probably have no business writing anything meant to be read by the kind of readership WP has. My advice to you is to go edit another subject quick, one of the dozen or so people who have told you to back off run out of patience and file an ANI or AE action with your name in it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 20:30, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
  • StreetSign, you have been making the same point over and over and over again. It is not gaining consensus. It's time to move on, unless you have something new to add. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 20:00, 16 July 2018 (UTC)
Dr. Fleischman, I appreciate your constructive advice and tone. I will let this issue marinate until there is new information available. StreetSign (talk) 14:47, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
  • I don't think the lead has a balance problem. However I think the list of organizations that rejected the theories can be trimmed down for readability. The second paragraph can simply say, "Law enforcement, fact-checking websites, and various newspapers have all deemded these theories to be false," or something like that. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 20:03, 16 July 2018 (UTC)

Requested move 14 July 2018[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: consensus not to move the page at this time, per the discussion below. Dekimasuよ! 21:50, 21 July 2018 (UTC)

Murder of Seth RichSeth Rich murder conspiracy theories – I think it it time to redo this discussion, given the recent news about the DNC hack and Russia. It is more clear today then it was when this was discussed before. However, the same rationale remains. I made a small change and I am using the plural for theory, as it better reflects what is going on here. 1. This is why this is WP:N. It is a debunked conspiracy theory. 2. It conforms with Pizzagate conspiracy theory 3. For BLP and WP:AVOIDVICTIM, I think this is how how the family would want this viewed as it helps debunk some of the BS around their son's death. There is no need for Wikipedia to further the victimization of the family and it should be a place for a reader to quickly understand the basic facts. Casprings (talk) 20:27, 14 July 2018 (UTC)

I supported the move in the last discussion but I'm neutral now. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 20:31, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
Why?Casprings (talk) 20:34, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
No - completely unnecessary. Per WP:CONCISE, keep it short unless there's a compelling reason to make it longer. Amsgearing (talk) 20:45, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
No The murder actually occurred. The fact that it became notable due to the conspiracy theories doesn't change the fact that these CTs surround a real event. Pizzagate was bullshit down to it's core. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:07, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
No The murder actually occurred, and remains unsolved. Stay with the facts. StreetSign (talk) 21:11, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
Support, but recommend "Seth Rich murder conspiracy theories" for brevity.
A parallel example would be "Barack Obama religion conspiracy theories". It's known that Barack Obama professes a religion, but that's not what the article is about—it's about the CTs surrounding his religion. His religion gets mention in his primary article, but there is no separate article "Religion of Barack Obama", as it wouldn't be sufficiently noteworthy if not for the CTs surrounding it.
Similarly, it's known that Seth Rich was murdered, but the article is primarily about the CTs surrounding the event. An unsolved street shooting in a major city would be otherwise non-notable.--NapoliRoma (talk) 21:32, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
You are the first support vote so I sent ahead and changed it. That is a better suggestion.Casprings (talk) 21:57, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
In the last vote, Ieditors convincingly made the argument that all kinds of murders get their own article so long as there is some news coverage of them, and it's likely that Seth Rich murder would have gotten even if there were no conspiracy theories attached to it. If I recall correctly, the murder did get coverage that was independent of the conspiracy theories (for instance, in the first few days after the murder). Snooganssnoogans (talk) 22:17, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
Support with shorter title. C0dd (talk) 12:24, 17 July 2018 (UTC)
Oppose not idiomatic English. Geogene (talk) 22:04, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:NPOV. jamacfarlane (talk) 23:44, 14 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Anyone familiar with the case can of course figure out the meaning of the proposed title. But if you just read it literally, it suggests there is some question as to whether or not Rich was murdered. Nine Zulu queens (talk) 12:50, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose The unsolved murder of a white middle class person in America is always notable. This case had wide coverage even before their was speculation about the motives. It differs from Obama's religion, because we have information about his religious views. TFD (talk) 19:06, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose Rreagan007 (talk) 20:51, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
  • Oppose MjolnirPants spelled it out better than I could of. PackMecEng (talk) 12:47, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Semi-protected edit request on 21 July 2018[edit]


The murder spawned several right-wing conspiracy theories, including the false claim that Rich had been involved with the leaked DNC emails in 2016, contradicted by the July 2018 indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence agents for hacking the e-mail accounts and networks of Democratic Party officials[5] and by the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion the leaked DNC emails were part of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[6][7][8] Law enforcement[6][7] as well as fact-checking websites like,[7][9],[10] and stated that these theories were false and unfounded.[6] The New York Times,[11] Los Angeles Times,[12] and The Washington Post called the fabrications fake news and falsehoods.[13] 2600:1702:31B0:64E0:4574:A446:67D2:EB2A (talk) 00:21, 22 July 2018 (UTC)

Not done Please read the sources. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 00:26, 22 July 2018 (UTC)