Talk:Sex offender registries in the United States

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WP:Neutral policy and WP:Citation overkill[edit]

ViperFace, make sure that you are adhering to the WP:Neutral policy, including what its WP:Due weight section states, at this article and at other articles about sex offenders. As you know, editors who weighed in at Talk:Sex offender and at Talk:Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act have concerns about you giving criticism of the sex offender laws and registries too much weight, while never focusing on what positives sources cite about such matters. As you know, James Cantor doesn't seem to have had any problems with your edits on these topics while MONGO, ScrapIronIV and DHeyward especially have. There is obviously a place for criticism of the sex offender laws and registries, so I am not arguing against that.

Also be mindful of WP:Citation overkill; it's an essay, but it's followed, especially in cases such as this one. Flyer22 (talk) 02:07, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing this out. I was not aware of WP:Citation overkill. This is a controversial subject. People hold strong opinions which are some times unfounded. The reason why I over-killed with citations is the lesson learned from AWA case: there are editors who refuse the reality and substitute their own, even when faced with overwhelming evidence. The problem with positive sources is that there seems to be none, except general opinions of politicians and victim advocacy groups of public registries being "useful tool". Academic RS on current state of registries is unanimously critical, period. I'm going to re-write the effectiveness section where I'll cite few studies finding positive effect of registries. (There exist only 2 or 3 I'm aware of and they come from states applying risk-tools.) Also, I'm contemplating writing a section of perceptions of these laws by general public vs. academics. I'm happy to see you here Flyer22. You are one of those editors that make me trust Wikipedia, and who keep my kind of editors with strong POV on check. On the other end of spectrum are editors you mentioned above, and one you forgot, Tom Harrison. ViperFace (talk) 15:42, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, ViperFace. I'll go ahead and WP:Ping Tom harrison as well. Flyer22 (talk) 15:48, 13 September 2015 (UTC) (His username is lowercase; fixed WP:Ping with second try. Flyer22 (talk) 15:50, 13 September 2015 (UTC))
I didn't forget Tom harrison, by the way; I simply didn't know he was involved. Also, why did you think it a good thing to link to those threads? Flyer22 (talk) 06:36, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
Tom got involved when AWA article was turning into edit war between Me and James pulling in one direction and MONGO and Dheyward in other. Prior to that Tom had shown little interest (only one revert in 2012) towards said article. Dheyward (aka Tbeatty] had shown zero interest, but jumped in when MONGO alone was in trouble due to me and James presenting a mountain of RS to support our position. To me it looks like what is described in Wikipediareview, pretty much went down on AWA talk page. I did follow these users for a while and saw Tom, Mongo and Dheyward tag teaming against individual users in other articles. Some times this seemed warranted as they were fighting with tin foil hats in 911 related articles, but some times, not so much. I don't now how much ScrapIV interacts with said editors, but together they all managed to get James, and eventually me tired enough to drop it, even though multiple un-involved editors coming in trough A/NI by James and my RfC were supporting my proposed edits. Scrap got involved trough [notice] so I'd be cool with him had he not lied in another A/NI claiming that my proposed edit "was practically single-sourced from an advocacy website", when in fact of 19 sources one was editorial, half from peer-reviewed journals and the rest from news. As I said, your kinds of editors make me trust WP, non-consensus seeking editors undermine my trust. PS. I have removed the links as potentially inappropriate as they allege wrong doing but might be just rumors started by someone who got as pissed as I did. ViperFace (talk) 09:21, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

Merge discussion[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Result: As nominator, I'm closing the merge discussion. There was no consensus to merge the other three articles into this one. Etamni | ✉   15:47, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

I am proposing that the articles regarding the three major US federal laws on sex offender registration (Megan's Law, Jacob Wetterling Act, and Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act) be merged into the existing sections of this article that are about those three laws respectively. The reasons for this merge include:

  • most of the material from the source articles is already present in this article (redundancy),
  • there is the strong possibility of POV forking over time because there is much academic criticism of the cumulative effect of the three laws: the repetition of this criticism into each of the three (short) source articles may give the appearance of giving the cricism undo weight, while not replicating it may appear to violate WP:NPOV.
  • The three source articles are fairly short and there is little liklihood of expansion (except for the aforementioned criticism sections)
  • Fully understanding the topic presented in each of the three source articles requires a broader approach to explaining the background, which background the destination article already offers.

Per WP:MERGEREASON, merging should be avoided if:

  • "The resulting article is too long or clunky" (the merge would add very little to this article -- most content already in place and sections for the topics already exist, avoiding the "clunky" criteria)
  • "The separate topics could be expanded into longer standalone articles" (the source articles are unlikely to expand except by the addition of material that is likely to also be added to this article anyway)
  • (and) "The topics are discrete subjects warranting their own articles, even though they might be short" (In this case, the article topics are a continuation of the same topic, and that topic itself is a major part of the destination article)

Your comments are welcome! Etamni | ✉   18:15, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose at least at this point. I was planning to move what is in Adam Walsh Act section (section 7) out of the way into AWA main article and get rid of the repetition to make this article more readable. I planned to remove "effectiveness and consequences" soon as consequences are already pretty much covered and I have effectiveness section almost ready. I think, the Adam Walsh Act article alone would make this article too long IMHO. I'd personally want to see how this article looks like when all the pieces of information that was fragmented all over the place in Sex offender registry find its own section here. I'm currently working on it, so please could we wait a little. I might support merging at some point later, but I think Adam Walsh Act deserves its own article, and merging it would be problematic due to its length. ViperFace (talk) 19:36, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
  • There is no explicit time limit on merge discussions, so I'm fine with delaying the actual merge (if consensus determines that one should happen) pending the completion of the work you are doing here. Is there specific material about the Adam Walsh Act that you feel does not belong in this article, or is your concern more to do with overwhelming the article with information about this one particular bill, possibly obfuscating the remaining info behind too much detail? Etamni | ✉   22:52, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
  • At this point more with overwhelming the article witjh AWA. I already imported the Tiers of offender section under Adam Walsh Act into the main article and removed the the rest of the section. I'd like this and other articles to be tidy if/when merge happens, so that there would not be much repetition coming from other articles. I'm also pro-WP:Preserve kind of guy and I don't want to accidentally lose valuable information when preparing these articles for merging. To me this seems a big move but it sounds very logical. I'd like to hear what more experienced editors have to say ViperFace (talk) 02:53, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Support (while Valuing ViperFace's comment), the articles do provide a lot of similar information and readers would have a more consolidated starting off point, to dig deeper into the sub-topics using the references provided. On the one hand there is an unlimited storage space on WP so everything could have it's own article, on the other hand these topics are closely related and could be covered well by merging. I assume links would exist to point reader from the existing article names (i.e., someone types "Megan's Law" and gets redirected to this article). It makes some sense from a readership perspective. I'm behind the curve with the history/development of this article and the Sex offender registry article too, seems like they could be linked in some greater way, or the other article renamed "Sex offender registry-international" or something like that, with a link in the US section to this article. --Cityside (let's talk! - contribs) 22:24, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, there would be redirects for people searching for the articles under their individual names. Also, any current link or other redirect to the existing articles would be corrected to point to this article instead. (There are tools for that which make it fairly simple to accomplish). As for the history of this article, it was recently created as a split from Sex offender registries because, I believe, the US-centric info was starting to overwhelm the article, leading to a lack of international balance.Etamni | ✉   22:52, 15 September 2015 (UTC)
  • I stroked over my vote as I'm not categorically against this idea. Now that I have seen your comments merging sound logical. I'm just worried how large this article will become and if it brings any issues per WP:SIZE. AWA article is quite large already. What do you think of splitting the "list" of court decisions into separate page? ViperFace (talk) 02:35, 16 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose merging the Megan's Law and Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act articles; those topics are WP:Notable enough for their own Wikipedia articles, and not close to being WP:Stubs. Any redundancy at this article regarding those topics should be handled via good old-fashioned cutting at this article, including WP:Summary style. The Sex offender registries in the United States article is big enough as it is. Flyer22 (talk) 04:03, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Navigation bar[edit]

Should we place Template:Sidebar or something similar to this article and other related articles? It would help readers to navigate between articles that are closely related. I support the idea behind the merge proposal (to tie these articles together more closely) but it's probably not the best way to proceed. Navigation sidebar would put it forth for readers that there are other articles covering different but closely related information. For what I have read, it seem that some times Megan's Law and Adam Walsh Act are used almost interchangeably to refer to sex offender registration in general, some times Adam Walsh Act is referred as a "New Megan's Law", "Megan's Law II" or "Revised Megan's Law".[1][2] Likely many of those who search for Megan's Law are actually looking for AWA (they just don't know it) or vice versa, or they just want information on sex offender registration in general, which would mean this article. Navigation bar would help readers not so familiar with these topics to draw difference between individual major laws and guide them to what ever article they may be interested to explore. ViperFace (talk) 15:06, 22 September 2015 (UTC) WP:SERIES seems to be exactly what I proposed above. ViperFace (talk) 15:21, 22 September 2015 (UTC)

In theory, such a navigation aid sounds good, but be advised that small nav-boxes routinely get deleted at TfD. It might work out better to simply put a hatnote in place to let readers know that there is more to wikipedia's coverage of the subject, with a link to a broader article (presumably this one). Meanwhile, the law-specific sections of this article still link back to individual articles, so those looking for more info about a particular law can still find that info too. (Do not consider this comment to mean I am opposed to the idea -- it means only that there are practical considerations we need to be aware of and discuss.) Etamni | ✉   16:18, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
I support the ideas.... anything that would add clarification and cross referencing would be really good for readers to better understand the topics, similarities/differences. I have to confess I don't know what all the terms would look like (I don't have a visual picture of them) but like the idea of easy-to-click buttons, boxes, or links. --Cityside189 (let's talk! - contribs) 22:54, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments. I have added hat notes to Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and Megan's Law to draw distinction between those two, and Template:Broader to guide interested readers from those to this article. ViperFace (talk) 21:04, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

@Etamni (and everyone else): what from your experience might be considered too small nav-box? I have attempted to identify potentially relevant articles. On top of those already mentioned I'm aware of following:

I personally think the section listing court decisions (at least those on state level) should be on separate article, so that would do one more. If the article series would be named "Sex offender laws in the United States" there could be couple of relevant articles more e.g.:

Would these be enough for nav-box? Is it necessary to have an article on exact name of article series as Sex offender laws in the United States does not exist yet?ViperFace (talk) 13:26, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

It appears there is enough info to meet the "rule of five" -- make sure you read everything you can find about templates before you create it, including the essay Not everything needs a navbox and A navbox on every page. I strongly suggest not changing the color from the default; this seems to be frowned upon at WP:TfD sometimes, usually on the basis that other colors are not accessible for some users. Speaking of TfD, you should read multiple comments and nominations there to understand the most common reasons templates get nominated for deletion. (Apologies if you have already done so, of course.) Other than that, just be bold and do it. Etamni | ✉   00:43, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

Neutrality disputed[edit]

This article has been posted to the NPOV noticeboard here in hopes of soliciting neutral contributions for balance. Right now this entire article reads as a soapbox against sex offender registries.--MONGO 11:39, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

I have removed the NPOV template as I do not believe Mongo has given sufficient justification. See my statements on the Noticeboard page linked in previous paragraph. deisenbe (talk) 15:08, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
I have restored it. This article is garbage and one of the worst POV laden things I have ever read on this website. Until the noticeboard declares the dispute is settled the tag must be displayed. My next step since you seem to think other voices are not needed is to send this hopeless mess to Afd.--MONGO 16:09, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm fine with hearing what other editors think. I also agree that NPOV templates should not be reverted when the issue has been posted to NPOV noticeboard. ViperFace (talk) 17:43, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
I'd like to hear other editors too. But to call the article "garbage" is neither polite nor helpful. deisenbe (talk) 18:34, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree.ViperFace (talk) 21:48, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

Request for comments[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
There is no consensus in the discussion. The arguments are to evenly split. AlbinoFerret 19:50, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

I'm requesting outside opinions on the recent addition of NPOV template on this article to find out if community thinks it is warranted. If it is, what should be done to achieve neutrality? Note that this issue is also being discussed here The article cites 44 peer reviewed studies, one book compiled by scholars, multiple studies by government organizations, two reports by The Human Rights Watch and long list of news articles supporting the content. Some of the references might be not so good, since I have not checked them yet (This article originates from Sex offender registry per WP:SPLIT). From past experience with editor responsible for adding the template I'm certain that this dispute will not have a fruitful outcome without large community involvement. ViperFace (talk) 21:20, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Leave the Template - Let the NPOV Notice board discussion play out. It's clear multiple editors have NPOV concerns here. NickCT (talk) 13:08, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Remove Template I don’t normally edit US law or politics articles but am familiar with UK equivalents. Whilst paedophiles are universally unpopular, I would expect views to reflect cultural differences between US and European editors. The UK has had similar complaints of registration for fairly minor infringements but UK authorities refuse to publish it because of a known risk of extra-judicial punishment –sometimes based on mistaken identity or sheer ignorance. Whilst I wouldn’t like to live next to a paedophile, this article fairly highlights the cruelty of registering trivial cases and what I and many UK editors would regard as unintended but significant violation of human rights. JRPG (talk) 17:52, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Template stays. ViperFace is precisely the kind of editor this website doesn't need....a single purpose account with an agenda who is working in a controversial area and has turned this article into a POV pushing advocacy piece against legislation that has not only continued to be enacted, but in most cases strengthened to protect the innocent from sex offenders.--MONGO 18:23, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
It's not your normal style MONGO but it does look like a personal attack on ViperFace. WP:AGF applies JRPG (talk) 19:17, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
His editing and POV pushing are demonstrated by his editing history. Wikipedia is not a platform for's against out policy known as NPOV.--MONGO 19:39, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
MONGO, can you show me any specific statement in the article that "advocates" for change? I really DO understand your concerns, but I've kept an open mind, complimented user:ViperFace when compliments were due, fixed a few typos, made a few suggestions, and just waited to see if anything inappropriate would be added to the article, but so far, I haven't seen any edits that unequivocally violate the rules. If the RS pretty much support one view, that is the view Wikipedia takes. This is true in articles about any subject, whether it be controversial or not. Etamni | ✉   01:12, 26 October 2015 (UTC)
Its being cleaned up slowly...if I cant get it neutral I'll send it to Afd.--MONGO 02:09, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

"Neutralizing" this article[edit]

Following the noticeboard discussion, I think User:MONGO and I should move aggressively to add neutrality to this article.

I think it's worth acknowledging that User:ViperFace has made some efforts to change his editing behavior on this article, and we're not seeking to work against him. Frankly, I think a lot of questionable material he's added could probably be retained if it were presented in a fair and balanced way.

Here are two practical suggestions for moving forward;

1 - Why don't we create a "Debate" section, similar to Abortion#Abortion_debate. We can shove a lot of the advocacy content into this section, and balance it with positions from both sides.
2 - I think User:MONGO and I should go through the article and tag any and all sentences we see as problematic with NPOV-statement. If I tag something, Mongo should review and come to some determination as to how to deal with the content. Vice versa, when Mongo tags, I will review his tag and do the same. In this way, we can hopefully comb the article and really remove problematic content.

It would be nice if User:ViperFace were to agree to discuss before reverting any of our changes. NickCT (talk) 13:26, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

I concur with you on this. I've never said that balanced critique following summary style shouldn't exist as with any legislation there is always detractors...but the tone and scope has been greatly overwhelmed and neutrally unbalanced due to all the advocacy material. I have however requested page protection and am awaiting to see what the outcome is with that. If implimented we may have to fine tune what our objections are here.--MONGO 15:51, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
Strongest possible support to this approach. Of course I agree to discuss. I'm the one who has been asking for discussion before major alterations. I would appreciate if you would also allow me a chance to comment before any dramatic changes are made. Tagin the problematic sentences would let me see more clearly what is the true source of NPOV complaints. Debate section sounds good as long as you are willing to contribute to building it. If I have to compile it alone we will end up in this same situation, not because I want to exclude positive accounts but because I can't find other than non-expert opinions, I hope you can. I truly appreciate your willingness to invest some time to this. Kudos to NickCT for coming up with this practical solution. ViperFace (talk) 16:56, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Fantastic. So in the spirit of cooperation we proceed! I've started with an initial tag. This material strikes me as pretty obvious OP/ED content. I think it might be a good candidate to move into a "Debate" type section. NickCT (talk) 17:03, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

Indeed! Although MONGO went and deleted the illustrative image that was well supported by the content of that section, without discussion of course. He went on a fishing expedition yesterday to see if the copyright is ok in hopes of getting it deleted (diff) and when he couldn't he just removed it anyway. This kind of behavior, well...serves to deepen my mistrust. But I'm not letting it ruin this. I'm very happy to see you here Nick, I trust you to be truly a neutral editor. What comes to your template, I agree. This piece is more suitable to debate section. I have high hopes that this will become a fair and balanced article. ViperFace (talk) 17:33, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
The fact that you already have two other images nominated for deletion was why I asked if this other image was also a policy violation before bothering to find out it wasn't by way of files for deletion. Get your story straight. Nevertheless, we are not an advocacy website and I have a real issue with a group that uses children to protest against sex offender registries...seems that group has their priorities pretty screwed up. We aren't going to host their image here in article space to use similar unsubstantiated claims...we have no way to prove that that child was impacted as the sign he was told to display indicates. It's unecyclopedic and advocacy.--MONGO 17:46, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
Hmmmm.... Ok. Well, that image probably wasn't going to fly for a lot of reasons. It might possibly have worked in the debate section, but ideally it would be balanced with an image from opposing advocates. Frankly though, the copyright issues surrounding images on WP are a real pain in the rear. Unless you are sure an image is free-use, it's probably best to avoid.
Re "without discussion of course" - Looks like that image was fairly recently added. Per WP:BRD, User:MONGO wasn't obligated to discuss. He can revert without discussion, then it's up to those supporting the change to discuss. NickCT (talk) 18:26, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
Well, if that was your rationale MONGO then I apologize. Tell me why would any child be protesting against said policies unless he or his family was not impacted? Are you suggesting that this kid was kidnapped and forced to attend this protest or what? Obviously some 5 year old can't understand what is going on, so in that sense every kid in whatever protest "is used to" promote something. As far as I know, this group merely protest lack of discretion in the process of labeling people as sex offenders. They are not seeking to abolish or hiding the registries from public, they just want Zach Andersons and people like him, and their families, to be treated fairly (see for yourself). This group is not some NAMBLA spin-off. They actually have pretty sensible arguments. If you really cared to find out what they are protesting against you would not find anything twisted in a kid holding that sign. Very understandable knee-jerk reaction is "OMG! this group wants to make it easier for pedophiles to f**k with kids, and they use kids to achieve that goal", which of course, is not true. The image merely illustrated that sometimes family members are unfairly punished for trivial offenses their parent committed in their distant past. I'm not going to edit war here but I'd say we should at least at some point reconsider the removal of the image. If there's larger consensus that it can't appear on this article then it will not appear on this article. I just don't feel it is right that you, and no one else than you, dictates what this article should or should not include. ViperFace (talk) 18:44, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
without discussion of course" because I earlier requested Mongo to discus his edits here before carrying them out at NPOV noticeboard as some of his edits were objected by two or three other editors. When we are in the middle of heated debate I find it not-so-constructive to ignore the requests of others to have discussion before proceeding. But no worries, I'm definitely not going to hang this process over one image. ViperFace (talk) 18:55, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
In light of the fact that I'm not a single purpose account working on a controversial subject and you are, (not withstanding all the overt emphasis you have on your own user page), my working with you is going to be problematic for you. By all intensive purposes, you made your intent clear from your earliest edits...and while you have modified your editing since, you still are little more than a POV pushing single purpose account...and you can take that to the bank. We have no way to prove the child in the image was impacted by sex offender registries except that website which is a primary source...we really need tertiary sources to establish facts in such controversial areas. We are not a repository for webhosted things that cannot be verified by reliable sources.--MONGO 21:14, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

─────────────────────────...Yes @NickCT:...that section you marked should be in a debate/pro/con section.--MONGO 21:29, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

If you want the image description could read: "child pretending having to been impacted by sex offender laws" or just "child protesting". I know it's going to be problematic. It's just that there were three other editors who you chose to ignored as well. ViperFace (talk) 03:37, 31 October 2015 (UTC)
Ok. I've started re-organizing. MONGO - I'd appreciate your help. Start tagging specific sections you see as problematic. NickCT (talk) 15:51, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Be later today after I read through this more.--MONGO 18:35, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Going to go through rest of article and tag the NPOV issues within the next 48 hours.--MONGO 17:42, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for NickCT for trying to accomplish this slow process of balancing this article in the spirit of WP:NORUSH. Unfortunately, the recently added section for debate and most of the content that could have been re-written and moved into it has now been removed per WP:YESRUSH. ViperFace (talk) 20:27, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Potential references[edit]

I'll compile sources on this section as an attempt to help solve some issues of those sentences that have been tagged recently. E.g. the first tagged sentence on Effectiveness ("According to the New York Times Editorial Board, 'there is not a single piece of evidence' that sex offender residency restrictions make children safer.") section could be tackled by using Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) website. Summary of the "Residence Restrictions" section states: "In summary, there is no empirical support for the effectiveness of residence restrictions. In fact, a number of negative unintended consequences have been empirically identified, including loss of housing, loss of support systems, and financial hardship that may aggravate rather than mitigate offender risk. In addition, residence restrictions lead to the displacement and clustering of sex offenders into other areas, particularly rural areas. Given the above, expansion of this policy was not recommended by the group of sex offender management professionals attending the SOMAPI forum." (emphasis in original). SMART office is a bureau of Office of Justice Programs. I'll let other editors to determine whether SMART Office is reliable enough and how to handle the neutrality issue. ViperFace (talk) 18:50, 9 November 2015 (UTC)


Looking at the section in "History" which currently starts "The registries were implemented not only......" and ends "...... through a variety of legislative enactments."; two comments -

1) This clearly doesn't belong under the category of "History".
2) There could possibly be editorializing issues here.

I think the immediate solution is to create a "Recidivism" subsection somewhere. NickCT (talk) 15:51, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

This issue is not easily determined and is part of the controversial aspect of the registries so maybe it just needs to be in the same section as controversies.--MONGO 18:39, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Or maybe just delete? It looks like it's based on two moderate quality sources (i.e. not super reliable secondary sources). NickCT (talk) 19:29, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
I think that should helps explain why the laws were implimented as its based on the understandings at that time. The source for the second paragraph is direct for prisoner release study done in 1997 on the three year follow up of sex offenders released in 1994. The publishing date for most of that data was in it's relatively current.--MONGO 09:17, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Mongo. Having the rationale behind the laws explained is important but I think that part should be rewritten as it's not accurate as Ssscienccce noted (diff). Also, better sources for recidivism/average number of victims of sexual predators and habitual offenders should be considered as Gene Abel seems to be a controversial figure on this field of study. It's also important to balance this information with recidivism rates of all sexual offenders, which seems to be considerably lower than recidivism of this particularly heinous sub-group. Some potentially useful sources for general recidivism can be found from Sex_offender#Recidivism. ViperFace (talk) 13:37, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Images of this article[edit]

Also, do you vigorously object to replacing the Zach Anderson (he was removed from the registry) image with photo of Philip Alpert[3] to balance the article? Currently there are images of two monsters but no images of those whose sex offender status is controversial. ViperFace (talk) 13:53, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

The "controversial" part, if it is controversial even, is one reason to not violate BLP and not include either image.--MONGO 16:51, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
The facts are: 1. This person got convicted and became a sex offender. 2. His case was highly publicized and controversial[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11](several academic studies mention him [12], a book mentions him [13]) This person himself has sought for publicity and given several interviews, even years later. It's entirely possible that I misunderstand the WP:BLP. I'd appreciate if someone took the time to teach me in detail how including this person in the article would violate WP:BLP. ViperFace (talk) 16:42, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
This is Sparta Wikipedia. Our standards are higher than money grubbing news venues.--MONGO 17:40, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
This seems to be Wikipedia Sparta... Even the map was ditched. I didn't even know it was posted to FfD. Its use easily fulfilled the fair use rationale. I'll try to get it back when I have time. ViperFace (talk) 18:58, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Addressing a pattern that can be seen if you have about 30-60 minutes to read what many would consider "TLDR" history and talk history.[edit]

With all due respect, this article demonstrates exactly why I'm an IP now, instead of a named editor as I was years ago. Over the long haul even the best editor, who can demonstrate point-by-point why his/her edits are perfectly in line with available sources and in keeping with WP policy... will almost always lose to a stubborn cadre of POV editors who mutually support unjustifiable reversions and edits across unrelated pages.
ViperFace has been dinged with an assertion of citation overkill, and it's true. It is unproductive to prove the same point fifteen times, and it wastes the time of an editor to fight a losing battle on one page when their talent would be invaluable across many pages.
Mind you, it's about the only thing you can do when someone deletes or throws "Cite" tags at sentences supported by a source later in the paragraph, or "NPOV" tags at sentences that already have their own source, but it will almost always fail - because any editor determined to get their way despite policy can spend very little effort to make a constructive editor waste hours disproving assertions that are made without a shred of proof or policy behind them. It's painfully reminiscent of the old joke about the US Super Bowl: 22 people in desperate need of rest, being watched by 200 million people in desperate need of exercise.
I commend ViperFace for his/her efforts to improve this article and keep it NPOV. But I'm afraid ViperFace and editors like him/her, and ultimately WP itself... will fail in the long run if he/she has to resort to citation overkill and other defenses because this kind of poisonous behavior continues to be tolerated. 2001:558:600A:4B:78C0:A7BD:D471:9409 (talk) 15:38, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

MONGO, I'm not going to get into an reversion war with you and your friends, either with respect to the article or with respect to deleting my comments on the talk page. You're dangerously close to the border of unambiguously-disruptive editing, bordering on vandalism. I strongly suggest that you and your friends stop deleting material you don't like while claiming "NPOV" every time - which as per WP:JUSTAPOLICY is not an adequate substitute for reasoning, sources, or both. 2001:558:600A:4B:78C0:A7BD:D471:9409 (talk) 18:41, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
There is a clear POV pushing bias here; pushing the idea that the criminals are the victims. This article is full of weasel words and hand-wringing. Citing just a policy is more than adequate when an article is already so far beyond the pale as this one is. Wikipedia is not here to push an agenda. ScrpIronIV 19:02, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Well... I'm not going to jump in any fights here as I have had my share of those. Improvements are slowly being worked on in a good spirit. Unnecessary debates will just slow down this progress. Thanks for the IP for the supporting comment, though. Mongo and Nick already did their tagging and I'm OK with it. If ScrapIron sees weasel words, please tag them. ViperFace (talk) 19:17, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
I can't blame you for looking the other way when MONGO repeatedly and blatantly calls in friends, this time to blank everything that disagrees with his POV. Some battles can't be won. 2001:558:600A:4B:78C0:A7BD:D471:9409 (talk) 20:07, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
IP is likely ban evader. Using IP makes it hard to see other places they have been convenient.--MONGO 19:21, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
There is so much trivial detail in this thing that the pure quantity of it lends WP:UNDUE weight to the ideas being expressed. This is being turned into a treatise on all the possible permutations on what could be wrong with registries, rather than dealing simply with what a registry is. This is an encyclopedia entry on registries, not a place to rant about how convicted criminals can't pass out Halloween candy in one state. ScrpIronIV 19:29, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Interesting assertion, MONGO. Upon what do you base this claim?
Surely you have some reason for making it other than "Because it's a good trigger-word that I think will make people take my side," and I'd love to hear what it is. 2001:558:600A:4B:78C0:A7BD:D471:9409 (talk) 20:05, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
I have removed the worst of the worst, and will leave it alone for now. Any additional cruft to show criminals as victims will be promptly addressed. ScrpIronIV 20:29, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Its called IP hopping so you can evade scrutiny. I think I was right about removing your initial post...and all your ranting and raving got you what...zilch. I didn't call in anyone by the way...but if you want me to summon my army I can.--MONGO 20:47, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
So your basis for claiming I'm a ban evader is that I'm an IP who disagrees with you? That's some pretty devastating evidence. 2001:558:600A:4B:78C0:A7BD:D471:9409 (talk) 20:51, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
Could care less what you disagree with. Your initial post and each once since has been nothing but a series of attacks against myself or anyone that disagrees with you so looks like you've managed to achieve the opposite of what hoped to. How's that working out for you elsewhere? Hugs and kisses.--MONGO 20:59, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

History section[edit]

Something should be done to the history section. Currently it says that "registries were implemented based on studies regarding recidivism" and "Lack of prison cells have been cited as one of the reasons sex offender registries were implemented" but offers no sources to support this. If there is RS that ties recidivism studies to implementation of registries we should, of course, put it forward to readers. I'll try to find something to replace this piece but if I can't, I will remove it. I would appreciate if long term experienced editors could restrain themselves from edit warring for unsupported claims. ViperFace (talk) 01:45, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Image of the "Classification of offenders" section[edit]

(non-admin closure)

There is consensus against using the proposed image, but for two radically different reasons. One is that the image publicizes a living person's deeds when there is no obvious need for that in the article. The other is that using (what I assume is) a statistical outlier from the database is WP:POV (showing readers "see, not all registered sex offenders are really evil").

There is also some consensus that having a generic/blank image (that does not reveal identifying information) could serve to illustrate the article.

My $0.02: I guess the point of the inclusion was not just illustration, but to show that the registers are large and not everyone registered is a serial rapist. This point should not be written in Wikipedia voice, but it could be made in the #Debate section if written neutrally and attributed to sources (I am sure there are enough sources out there, e.g. the ACLU - this one is not the best link to use there). I see no need for an image to make the point, though names and cases will inevitably be cited in the text.

TigraanClick here to contact me 11:39, 24 May 2016 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

There is a dispute whether or not the article should contain this image with this caption. Two editors have removed the image from the article. Justifications of User:MONGO for removing the image include the edit summaries "that will learn em...dont take, possess, send, sell or share images of naked juveniles...its called child pornography"[14] and "Youtube clips or screen captures are not reliable sources...".[15] The image in question is a screen capture of sex offender flyer seen in a news story by Orlando Sentinel which is WP:RS. User:DHeyward claims WP:OR, WP:SYNTH and "number of other sourcing issues".[16] I speculate that SYNTH claim is because of the last sentence of the caption which reads "Under the Adam Walsh Act, a conviction or a guilty plea to distribution of child pornography requires mandatory sex offender registration for 25 years as a tier II sex offender.[1]" It is clearly not WP:OR as it is supported by the source. It might be WP:SYNTH in which case the sentence should be removed rather than removing the whole image. This image would serve the readers as it points out that people who are unlikely to sexually attack anyone may be required to register as a sex offender for youthful indiscretion. This image would also balance the article as currently there's only one image of a stereotypical sex offender who was the main suspect of the Murder of Adam Walsh. To counter possible bogus claims of WP:BLP issues I am expecting from these two editors, I want to point out that case of Phillip Alpert was very highly publicized[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24] and is mentioned in more than 50 academic studies.[25] I am requesting other editors for opinions if this image should be included in the article and if the two opposing editors have given sufficient justifications for their removal of the image. ViperFace (talk) 16:30, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

You stated: "This image would serve the readers as it points out that people who are unlikely to sexually attack anyone may be required to register as a sex offender for youthful indiscretion."
So, you admit your intent with the image is to manipulate the readers of a Wikipedia article to react in a certain way, and to support a specific viewpoint?
No, NO! A thousand times, NO! ScrpIronIV 19:27, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
The intent is to describe the registries as they are. There are obviously non-dangerous offenders whose crimes would be considered somewhat petty by any sane person. There are also dangerous predators who abduct and rape children. The latter group is already represented by the image of Ottis Toole. ViperFace (talk) 23:30, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm inclined to remove it. It's unclear whether this person's situation is typical (and a "typical" person on a registry would be a preferable illustration), and I'm concerned about making any individual be the "poster child" for a particularly reviled group of criminals. That doesn't seem like it would be consistent with the community's values, e.g., WP:Don't be evil.
    IMO a more educational illustration would be a blank or "example" one, that shows what a typical website looks like, without including the name or photo of any individual person. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:34, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
  • I think singling out a particular non-notable criminal to use as an example is inappropriate from writing, neutrality, and BLP privacy standpoints. If you want to show that sex offender registration may apply to relatively harmless offenders, write a few paragraphs on it. I didn't read the whole article, but I see it's briefly covered in § Debate; I suspect there's enough source material to write an entire subsection neutrally covering the topic, perhaps even giving examples.
A personal aside: You might want to find a different example if you're trying to evoke reader sympathy. I agree he sounds unlikely to attack anyone, but many people would not consider using nude photographs to humiliate someone to be a youthful indiscretion. My initial reaction to that photograph and caption was a mix of contempt, anger, and pity for his victim—not concern for the appropriateness of his registration.  Rebbing  21:12, 5 April 2016 (UTC)
  • No to its use, per WhatamIdoing, ScrapIronIV and Rebbing. Also consider that man's future; Wikipedia would be pretty much solidifying his stigmatisation. He'll be unable to escape his past forever, no matter what he's done while being a teenager; we all have a right to privacy, something which sensationalist media usually forget - and Wikipedia shouldn't perpetuate (remember we do not provide news). Temporal coverage based on recent events and which solely covers an act because of its notoriety or sale value is trumped by academic analysis as suggested above, and I'm sure academic analysis is in turn not centred around a photograph. An empty example one, as previously hinted at might be a much better option; discussing opposing views on the topic as covered extensively in quality sources. One shouldn't use an image to make a point. Analise the topic neutrally in-article and provide an image (such as the blank one stipulated) if and when it would support the text in a way that is necessary, not just because you feel it is nice and convenient. The points raised are very interesting indeed and I'm sure much can be written about them, yet the photograph is unnecessary. Best, FoCuS contribs; talk to me! 14:21, 6 April 2016 (UTC)


  1. ^ "Practitioner's Guide to the Adam Walsh Act" (PDF). National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse. 2007.

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

'When Junk Science About Sex Offenders Infects the Supreme Court' NYT link[edit]

Here's a link to a recent, 2017-09-12, New York Times op-ed piece, When Junk Science About Sex Offenders Infects the Supreme Court:

-- (talk) 03:19, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

Illustration from Wapello, Iowa.[edit]

As an illustration for this article, the picture is off base. It implies sex offenders and pedophiles are one and the same. deisenbe (talk) 16:03, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Article issues[edit]

This is the first time I have looked at these types of articles and I was amazed at the lack of coverage on Wikipedia especially concerning individual states.
  • 1)- Neutrality: The article seems to me to be presenting a broad coverage that does not seem to show bias either way. Not only is there a form of "pros and cons" format there is a debate section. There is a couple of problems with the second paragraph bit it seems more from confusion that non-neutrality. Content:
a)- "The majority of states and the federal government apply systems based on conviction offenses only, where the requirement to register as a sex offender is a consequence of conviction of or guilty plea to a "sex offense" that triggers a mandatory registration requirement.".
It does not matter if a defendant "pleads" guilty or is "found" to be guilty by a judge or jury.
b)- "The trial judge typically can not exercise judicial discretion, and is barred from considering mitigating factors with respect to registration".
This is confusing because the word "typically" means there can be exceptions yet the last part of the sentence is restrictive to "no" judicial discretion at all.
  • 2)- Lead: The lead has six paragraphs. We can do better than that. Although four has been shown to be a community-accepted standard (of course with exceptions) six can be reduced.
  • 3)- History section and tag: The third paragraph does "stray" from the "history" aspect and can be placed somewhere else.
  • 4)- Coverage: The rest of the article has a lot overly broad coverage and subsections as to why or what led to certain laws that have been enacted but not much explaining the title specific "Sex offender registries in the United States". I would think this may only be solved with state-specific coverage. Otr500 (talk) 06:23, 7 February 2018 (UTC)