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Wrong how? "Serial killer" is commonly defined as three or more killings, or two or more killings (and, of course, the psychological component that comes with that), which the lead currently notes. The lead also includes the FBI definition, which goes by the "two or more" definition. The lead includes the "over a period of more than a month, with down time (a 'cooling off period') between the murders" aspect because that is an important aspect of what defines a serial killer; like the Spree killer article currently notes, "According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the general definition of spree killer is a person (or more than one person) who commits two or more murders without a cooling-off period; the lack of a cooling-off period marking the difference between a spree killer and a serial killer. The category has, however, been found to be of no real value to law enforcement, because of definitional problems relating to the concept of a 'cooling-off period'." Flyer22 (talk) 00:55, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Who defines it as "a person who has murdered three or more people", apart from Wikipedia? There is no formal definition. But surely the definition relates to the killings being in a series - two can be a series. The current definition is that of a mass killing, not a serial killing.Royalcourtier (talk) 00:00, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Royalcourtier (talk·contribs), if you want to know who defines a serial killer as "a person who has murdered three or more people," all you need to do is look to the sources in the lead of the Serial killer article that are there for that aspect. You can also look on Google Books; for example, by searching "Serial killer three or more"). Your "formal definition" argument is odd. A serial killer is defined by at least two or three murders with a "cooling off" period between the murders, and often (or usually) the inclusion of psychological gratification. Not everyone who who has killed two or more people is a serial killer. Soldiers of war who have killed many people are not serial killers. Typically, neither are mob bosses who have killed several or more people. There are certain factors that make a person a serial killer. The current definition in the lead of the Serial killer article is not the definition of a mass murderer, if that's what you meant by "mass killing." And not only is the lead of the Serial killer article clear on that, so is the current lead of the Mass murder article. Flyer22 (talk) 00:23, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Gobonobo. It looks better now. I think it's important to emphasize somewhere in the article that serial killers in general are rare to begin with, but there's no need to labor the point every time an even rarer subset is mentioned. 220.127.116.11 (talk) 19:39, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
This, this and this are all the edits that 18.104.22.168 are referring to. In this and this edit, I cleaned up the section, tweaked some things, removed the "three or more murders" part as unneeded, and gave the section some order. Gobonobo de-emphasized the material gain aspect at one point (as seen in the third link in this paragraph), but I emphasized it because female serial killers murdering for material gain (commonly described as black widows if involving the murders of lovers or husbands) and/or being a part of a serial killer team remains the most common type of female serial categorization, as the section in question shows. Flyer22 (talk) 01:11, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
I made two followup edits to the section here and here. And as for it being important to emphasize somewhere in the article that serial killers in general are rare to begin with, I agree with 22.214.171.124 on that; if we are not going to have that piece in the first paragraph of the Female serial killers section where it was, it should be somewhere in the General subsection of the Characteristics section. Flyer22 (talk) 01:33, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Two other followup edits that I made to the section are here and here. And I'll of course continue to edit that section as time goes on, as I have done various times before this case. Flyer22 (talk) 05:24, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
The article states that African-American serial killers make up almost 41% of all serial killers in the U.S. yet they are only 13% of the total population. Is this information accurate and if so shouldn't there be a source included that explains WHY so many more black serial killers exist? 2604:2000:7FC0:1:9803:C510:4091:EA8F (talk) 09:53, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
This is the section you are talking about. It gives different percentage estimates for black serial killers, and I trust none of those estimates. The part you are talking about is sourced to Mike Aamodt of Radford University/FGCU, and it states, "A 2013 Radford/FGCU Serial Killer Database annual statistics report showed that for the decades 1900–2010, the percentage of White serial killers was 52.4% while the percentage of African American serial killers was 40.7%." As for whether or not it classifies as a WP:Reliable source for the topic at hand, you can ask at the WP:Reliable sources noticeboard. Flyer22 (talk) 15:40, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Flyer22 you wrote "It gives different percentage estimates for black serial killers, and I trust none of those estimates". Three questions: why is that data in the article then? what don't you trust about the estimates? what do you mean when you say "it gives different percentage estimates"? Thanks ... 2604:2000:7FC0:1:9803:C510:4091:EA8F (talk) 05:47, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
IP, I did not add that material to the article. If you check the archives, shown at the top of this talk page, you will see that this content has been debated before and has changed over the years. And whether I like and/or trust something is not supposed to be the sole basis as to whether article content can stay; the same goes for any Wikipedia editor. As for what I meant by "It gives different percentage estimates for black serial killers," I was referring to the section as a whole. The Aamodt material clearly is not the only percentage estimate material mentioned in that section regarding black serial killers. And I don't trust any of the percentage estimates there because it all looks like speculation and guessing to me. Flyer22 (talk) 06:30, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
If the percentage is correct, it simply relates to the fact that blacks are much more disposed to crime of all types. Whatever the reason may be, it is an undeniable fact that the majority of crimes are committed by blacks.Royalcourtier (talk) 00:02, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Source 21 is unreliable and generalizes a country's population as a whole. Furthermore, the data that source 21 supplements here is obviously being contested above. This statement should at least be changed to avoid declaring such generalizations as fact, if not removed entirely along with the source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 17:46, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
Don't threaten me, Flyer22. My edit was consistent with the data contained within the article. If 40% of serial killers are blacks, and 60% white - as stated in the article, and I have no idea if this is true - then the suggestion in the article that whites are not more like to be serial killers is misleading, what should be said is that blacks are more likely to be serial killers, contrary to the popular stereotype. Need I remind you that black Americans represent some 15% of the American population, not 40%.Royalcourtier (talk) 21:28, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Royalcourtier (talk·contribs), you call it a threat; I call it following Wikipedia's rules. Violate them again on this matter, and appropriate means will be taken. You are wrong, with regard to how Wikipedia is supposed to work and with regard to your "race" conclusions (that includes making it seem like whatever percentage of serial killers there are in the United States equates to serial killers in the world in general).
Gobonobo, are you still watching this article? Can I count on you to revert inappropriate edits made to it? Flyer22 (talk) 21:40, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
I hadn't been, but I've got this on my watchlist now. gobonobo+c 22:20, 21 March 2015 (UTC)