Talk:Sean Smith (diplomat)

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Article name[edit]

I have categorized him under "gamer" in the article title rather than "U.S. Foreign Service officer" because he was famous as a leading player and community member in the gaming community -- on the principle that if he had been a famous amateur chess player, musician or athlete, we'd do the same for those disciplines. If anyone feels this is inappropriate, please feel free to move the article: but, if you do so, please explain here why you would treat video gaming any differently from any other sport. -- The Anome (talk) 16:11, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Update: he appears to have been chatting online just before the attack started: [1] -- The Anome (talk) 16:16, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Moving it to (diplomat), since that is what he died doing as his day job. He was well known in EVE, yes, but he was also well known among the Foreign Service, which is not that large of a community. SWATJester Son of the Defender 16:30, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
OK, good point. Given that, I agree that "diplomat" makes more sense in this context. My condolences to all who knew him, regardless of context. -- The Anome (talk) 16:34, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Being an IT worker for the state department doesn't make you a diplomat, it makes you an IT worker (talk) 05:05, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
The job was a little more complicated than "IT worker" if you have been following the news. Falcon8765 (TALK) 06:15, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Based on the articles Diplomat and Diplomatic rank I'd say the term is reserved for certain ranks within Foreign Service and would not include Sean Smith. For example, even a consul is not considered a diplomat. (talk) 01:57, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
As most of the news articles are referring to him with the umbrella term "diplomat", I think it is fine for our purposes. Falcon8765 (TALK) 02:13, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

I can add a bit of subject matter expertise here, both as a professional diplomat, and someone who knew Sean personally. Information Management Officers ARE diplomats. They hold diplomatic privileges, diplomatic passports, diplomatic accreditation. Additionally, the job includes management of all communications, even non-IT based ones, from the embassy. But when it comes down to it, the real definition of a diplomat is whether you are diplomatically accredited by the host nation, which was the case here (as is the case with nearly all foreign service employees). Hope that helps. SWATJester Shoot Blues! 07:48, 14 September 2012 (UTC)


Is there any evidence of independent notability? I feel this should be merged to 2012 U.S. diplomatic missions attacks, in a new section called 'Victims'? GiantSnowman 16:50, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm aware it might seem a little insensitive to have a huge debate about this right now, but that seems a fair point. I'm not sure he'd have been notable in any other circumstances. We don't - and shouldn't - have a page on every person killed in every violent attack, however likely it is that the attack itself will remain a notable event in the historical record. N-HH talk/edits 17:16, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
He's the subject of multiple articles from independent reliable sources, and he was clearly a well-known personality in the gamer subculture well before his death: EVE Online has a 400,000-strong community, larger than many towns, spread across the world, so this is more than a niche issue. Articles that are specifically about him, not just the attack itself, and emphasizing his identity as a gamer, have appeared in both the world English-language press, and news websites in multiple languages. -- The Anome (talk) 17:31, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
In fairness, I see little more than 'known gamer killed in attack'. GiantSnowman 17:41, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
What, prior to this event? I can't see any evidence here of that or see any in a quick date-specific search of my own. Being part of a gaming community, or even being well known within it (under his real name?), is not enough surely, unless we have independent third-party profiles of him as a gamer, preceding his death. Maybe we can justify an article on him on the basis of that, but the fact of his death and the coverage relating to it neither adds to nor detracts from his fundamental notability (or lack thereof). N-HH talk/edits 17:42, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
ps: also, per the above move, he's now here as "diplomat". I'm even less sure that he is notable on that basis. N-HH talk/edits 17:43, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
The article name change doesn't make a difference. He was famous online, but it never got reported in WP:RS, so it failed to be "notable" by WP's criteria. Now he's dead, his online fame is being reported by multiple WP:RS, and as a result, it's now notable, and we can write about it here. His online fame pre-dated his death, so it's not a case of WP:BLP1E. His violent death is in effect a second story. -- The Anome (talk) 17:48, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, I'm not sure that logic washes. In any event, people who are killed often turn out to be known or respected within certain communities, online or real-world, and have people paying tribute to them who will confirm as much. That doesn't suddenly confer notability, even if it's remarked on in post-death mini-profiles. Anyway, I've made the point and don't want to get bogged down in this, not least because it feels a little tasteless. N-HH talk/edits 17:59, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

It does indeed, but I thought a discussion on the talk page much better than an AfD tag. GiantSnowman 18:27, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Didn't mean to suggest you were wrong to raise it or any of us wrong to discuss it btw, just that I had probably said enough. People often rush to create articles like this and I don't think anyone should then feel they have to shy away from raising notability issues because of the circumstances, effectively making the entry's retention a fait accompli - indeed on one similar occasion recently, it was the existence of an article that caused upset, not the bid to delete it. N-HH talk/edits 18:47, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
I think he passes the notability criteria. He was an elected member of Eve Online's Council of Stellar Management, which is a committee that advises the game's developers. By itself, that does not establish notability, but combined with the manner of his death, it contributes. Falcon8765 (TALK) 20:16, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
I would say not notable. Internet personalities often get their importance way overblown on the internet, and I see nothing but a tragic death of a completely ordinary person (playing video games, mmos, is completely ordinary). He mght be important to the EVE community, but any claims to fame in a virtual world are, as of yet, very fleeting and ethereal, and subsequently we do not rate such accomplishments highly for purposes of determining Wikipedia notability. I'd delete the page, merging essential info to the main attacks page. CapnZapp (talk) 10:40, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I think any discussion of deleting the page is premature, given that new details about why he died are starting to come out. He had to stay behind to destroy classified material, and thus died because he valued service to the country more than his own personal safety. Being eulogized and discussed by the Secretary of State as well hundreds of news sources, many of discuss his fame on the internet, is sufficient for me to see him as notable as Wikipedia defines it. Falcon8765 (TALK) 22:57, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
If James Brady, who was neither elected, or killed in the performance of his duties for the state, is considered notable by Wikipedia standards, simply because he was involved in the attempted assassination of a president, then you must apply the same standard here. Sean was involved in the assassination of a U.S. Ambassador and killed in the line of duty. The ambassador is absolutely notable, just as the president is. Further, by being not just a leader in his community, but an elected leader of that community of nearly a half million people, he is absolutely notable to that community, which further extends his notability. Monorailpilot (talk) 23:27, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Sorry but being a member of an online gaming counsel does not make you notable. If that were the case you would see more pages devoted to people involved with games like World of Warcraft which have a much larger following than Eve. Further, the assassination of the ambassador, someone who is actually notable, does not make Sean notable. Do either of the marines, also killed in the attack, have wikipedia pages? I also think this article should be deleted and information relevent to the attack should be merged with the page on the attack.Cumlord69 (talk) 02:48, 14 September 2012 (UTC)Cumlord69 (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

I am inclined to agree with Cumlord69. A tragic event, to be sure, however most of this article seems to revolve around his video game experience, which to my standard does not warrant a Wikipedia page.Hoggnboss (talk) 02:56, 14 September 2012 (UTC)Hoggnboss (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

Your own standard is irrelevant. The standard is what Wikipedia defines it as at WP:NOTE. Have you read and understood the notability criteria? Falcon8765 (TALK) 03:08, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
The amount of information on Sean Smith from reliable sources is extremely small and not enough to warrant a full article. I'm going to quote it for you directly from the notability requirement page "if only a few sentences could be written and supported by sources about the subject, that subject does not qualify for a separate page, but should instead be merged into an article about a larger topic or relevant list." Someone also mentioned that Sean was supposedly charged with destroying classified information yet there is no mention of it in his page. This is because there are no reliable sources for this information. This page should be deleted and merged with the article on the attack.ChrysiAvgi (talk) 04:06, 14 September 2012 (UTC) ChrysiAvgi (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

For sake of good taste, why not just let this sit for a few days, since this event just happened, let the news articles come out then we can go through a proper AfD if notability is still in question and sort it out. There's no reason to rush to judgement or rush into things, there are several independent reliable sources that are specifically about him and not the event, which seems to mean he MAY meet the threshold for notability. I suggest just give it a rest, about arguing about if he's notable or not until things calm down in the news about the events. — raekyt 05:25, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Note that several of the above accounts have been blocked for sock/meat puppetry and have no edits outside of decrying his notability. Falcon8765 (TALK) 14:02, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

News Links[edit]

Please ping me when this article is back up for AfD. czar · · 06:48, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Picture of Sean[edit]

It might be appropriate to replace the picture of Sean's arm with an actual photo of him or remove it completely. David Kraeutmann (talk) 19:18, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. The picture does nothing to establish what he looked like. --Ouzo (talk) 19:52, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
I concur, I've removed it. Falcon8765 (TALK) 20:14, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
You have no idea how much he loved that tattoo. --Rycarus (talk) 21:01, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Here is a photo --Rycarus (talk) 00:26, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Need copyright info. Who took it, etc. Falcon8765 (TALK) 00:28, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
The Mittani stated that people were free to use the photo of Smith in his obituary:[2], [3]. TallNapoleon (talk) 08:16, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
That's not a great picture to use for an encyclopedia article if there are others, such as the one posted above, available. It's too dark and you can't see half of his face. Are there no others available on Somethingawful or the Goonfleet forums that would be attributable and aren't distorted? If we could get the source for the photo that Rycarus posted above, that would be a good choice. Whomever owns the rights to the picture has to follow the directions at Wikipedia:Donating_copyrighted_materials or upload it themselves with the proper license. It's a bit of a pain, but it just has to be formalized for legal reasons. Falcon8765 (TALK) 09:10, 13 September 2012 (UTC) is a picture released by the US Department of State which means it is placed into the public domain. I also don't have the skills to clean it up for wikipedia use, but I'm sure someone else can. Monorailpilot (talk) 23:29, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Can you give me the link to the news article or DoS press release that the picture is attached to? Falcon8765 (TALK) 02:18, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Here's a State Department press release (from the Hague embassy's official cite, where Smith used to be posted) that includes the photo: . NB that it's clearly credited to the State Department. Lost tiree, lost dutch :O (talk) 14:35, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
That's perfect, thank you. Falcon8765 (TALK) 15:17, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 12 September 2012[edit]

'consultate' should be edited to 'consulate' - minor spelling error.

"Sean Smith (died September 11, 2012) was a United States Foreign Service Information Management Officer who died in the 2012 attack on the U.S. consultate in Benghazi, Libya." Brent588 (talk) 21:46, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, I've changed it. GiantSnowman 21:52, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 13 September 2012[edit]

Here is a picture of Sean Smith, and his tattoo which he loved dearly.

Wp1010 (talk) 00:57, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

That image was already removed, as it doesn't actually show his face and is thus pretty worthless from an encyclopedic standpoint. There are other, normal pictures of him out there. Falcon8765 (TALK) 01:11, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Forgive my wiki ignorance on formatting but!

Sean's face picture should be used for the main portion of the article. If you're going to put a picture of the tattoo, then a sub-section detailing that the tattoo was the result of a poll to the online gaming community he played for. He asked members of Goonswarm Federation (an Eve Online Alliance) for drawn submissions for his piece of artwork. The dragon was the winning design. Unfortunately the verifiable source for this is behind a locked forum so I'm not sure how you'd cite that source unless you used the wiki article about the tattoo (which is more satirical than informational) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Yes, that would be ideal. I am aware of the story behind the tattoo and have access to the relevant forum. All that must be done is to upload a normal picture that has information on its copyright status (who took it, etc). Falcon8765 (TALK) 01:46, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
You also need a reliable source to support the material, per WP:RS. A forum is not sufficient & is WP:OR. --Errant (chat!) 21:30, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I know. That is not what I was referring to. I was referring to having a picture of his face. Falcon8765 (TALK) 23:00, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

More cognitive dissonance at Wikipedia.[edit]

Sean Smith was murdered. We didn't just die, and he wasn't just killed. Why does the opening paragraph not indicate the he was murdered, while category links at the bottom of the article clearly (and accurately) indicate that he was in fact was murdered? Honest observers know the answer to that question. Bobinisrael (talk) 19:44, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

What do reliable sources say? If you can't find one to support your claim, then maybe there's a reason. GiantSnowman 22:37, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
I did the brief effort of Googling it for him, and many of the news articles and such to refer to it as being murder. As such, I've changed the wording. See [4] for a representative example. Falcon8765 (TALK) 23:05, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Other sources using the terminology "murdered" are available at [5] Falcon8765 (TALK) 23:13, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
He was also "killed" and "died" - what's your point? GiantSnowman 23:21, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
That murdered is a more specific term than "killed" and the use of it as a descriptor is backed up by reliable sources. Falcon8765 (TALK) 23:25, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
That being said, if you would like to change it back again, I won't have a problem with it. Falcon8765 (TALK) 23:26, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Murdered is an overly emotive term used by certain 'news' outlets - you will find no other victims of terrorism described on Wikipedia as being murdered, and rightly so. "Killed" is neutral and suitable. GiantSnowman 23:30, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. Falcon8765 (TALK) 23:39, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Article needs work[edit]

As it stands currently, the last sentence seems to be incomplete: "His remains, along with those of Ambassador Stevens and the two former United States Navy SEALs that were providing security for the Consulate. [7]"

Scanlyze (talk) 02:02, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 17 September 2012[edit]

I would like to write the italian version of the page but couldn't find how to do it. Kobaino (talk) 09:04, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

The Italian-language Wikipedia can be found here. Regards, GiantSnowman 09:42, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
I've created a stub here: , using machine translation from the English-language article. It now needs to be converted into a proper article by an Italian speaker. -- The Anome (talk) 11:25, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

EVE Online involvement[edit]

This might not be the best place to do it, but I think it has to be done... Thing is, this guy (may he rest in peace) was part of the Goons, who are members of Something Awful dedicated to ruining every MMO they find. I'm not too clear on the details and if I wasn't at work I'd find sources, but I recall he publicly humiliated another player at an official convention (while president of the Council), among other things. It would also seem (but that's only a rumor with strong evidence - although not decisive - to be had) that he became President after the Goons voted for him en masse (he was a few thousand votes before the second candidate).

I'm writing this because as it stands now, the EVE Online section makes him look like a saint. There was an uproar from the players who weren't goons because his "guild" tried to exploit his death for their own gain. This is probably still on the forums. I feel I should write I am not nitpicking or trying to undermine Sean. I'm sure he was a great guy in real life, but I just think that in the name of truth and neutrality, we should give the whole story. I also wouldn't be surprised if goons edited this article to remove said neutrality (I'll be honest, some comments in this article make me think that already). User: Anon — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:09, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

There is no evidence that this man sought to "ruin every mmo in existence" and that's completely the opposite of what the Goons do for EVE Online, they're one of the biggest contributors to the sandbox environment, and with their work with CCP through the CSM they've done more to improve the game than any other group. EVE is BETTER because of the Goons, and that's undeniable. — raekyt 13:33, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
You are confusing the actions of The Mittani with Vile Rat. A very simple google search could have shown you the error of your thought. Also, you are attributing the actions of a single member of a group to the actions of the entire group. Neither is appropriate. Monorailpilot (talk) 19:15, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

He was a member of Goons. He was a forum mod for SA. I'm curious where this "ruining every MMO they find" thing is coming from, nor how it is relevant. He was a member of the CSM. From that point you start talking about someone else. In Eve, he was known as "the diplomat" to people with influence. He settled feuds and ended wars to the chagrin of the more bloodthirsty. What you have written gives the impression that you are more than a casual observer in the game, which leads me to question your misattribution of one person's acts onto the person in question. Bagehi (talk) 00:31, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

First of all, anyone referring to "the Goons" unironically as "dedicated to ruining every MMO they find" has utterly no idea what they are talking about and are just regurgitating what they've heard others spout; they most certainly are not Goons themselves. If they were, they'd know that there is literally no organization behind goon presence in MMOs -- anyone can start up a goon guild/clan/corp or whatever they'd like, and Goonswarm/Goonfleet/Goonwaffe was just one of many of these. Some goon groups are chill, others play very competitively. None have the express goal of "ruining every MMO they find." So, let's question the motives here of someone purporting to "in the name of truth and neutrality, wants to give the whole story" when said person doesn't know even know what the story is, who wrote the book, or who any of the characters are. SWATJester Shoot Blues, Tell VileRat! 23:50, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

Law Suit[edit]

The parents filed a lawsuit against Clinton in 2016, what happened to that? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:199:C200:AF:C5F:99DC:F62D:FDBB (talk) 23:04, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

Apparently it's been dismissed. [6] FallingGravity 03:35, 28 May 2017 (UTC)