Talk:Suburban Express/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3


"The Controversy" Defined: Three Elements

For anyone new to this article, I'd like to clarify what some users are broadly defining as "The Controversy", since several issues keep getting mashed into one:

1) A Suburban Express driver is alleged to have been rude to an international student. A student who allegedly witnessed the interaction posted his account on facebook and undertook to widely distribute the story, at one point receiving assistance from an employee of the University of Illinois who works in the Office of Public Affairs. The employee provided media contacts.

2) In spring 2013, Suburban Express filed a number of collection suits against purchasers who were indebted to Suburban Express for cheating the system or for dishonored payments. A significant percentage of the suits named individuals who are not students, ie they are parents of students.

3) Suburban Express noticed that discussion of 1 and 2 on Reddit included a great deal of wildly inaccurate information and that the Reddit moderator was altering the course of the discussion, often by deleting messages which argued the side which the moderator did not support. The moderator also posted a banner ad on the site which contained a false statement. In response, Suburban Express attorney demanded ( that moderator remove the false statement. Moderator ran to free-speech bloggers and got their attention. Blog posts were then regurgitated by other blogs.

Conventional media ignored the puerile online discussions and blog posts, but covered the collection lawsuits. Some examples cited in conventional media were a bit sensationalistic and inaccurate. For instance, a parent was subject to collection action for reversing a credit card charge after her daughter missed the bus one Sunday morning. She told the credit card company that the bus did not show up. But that was a false statement, and it facilitated getting a refund for a non-refundable ticket. One newspaper article incorrectly stated that she was pursued even though we admitted the bus never ran. That is one example.

A handful of students then engaged in tireless efforts to discredit Suburban Express, and they recieved support from free-speech advocates. Some of the support is rife with conflict of interest, though. Reddit and ARS technica, for instance, have common ownership. It's in their mutual best interest for Reddit to have the support of an Ars Technica blogger. Downstream bloggers benefit by injecting themselves into anything controversial. More controversy = more clicks.

It's misleading to characterize recent events as a single monolithic controversy.

Some Wikipedia editors have proposed that Wikipedia article content should be in proportion to article count. In other words, if there are 5 articles about Suburban Express about history, competitive battles, etc., and 20 "articles" (blog posts, mostly) about the recent newsy trash that 80% of the article should relate to the recent newsy trash. One big problem with that is the fact that many of the blog articles are simply regurgitated from one seminal article or two. In other words, if there are 20 blog articles, there may be 18 that are essentially copied from the initial two. If the body count method of assigning weight is accepted, duplicate/regurgitated articles should probably be ignored.

Arri at Suburban Express (talk) 20:02, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Please Do not edit my content, it was put in the correct section. (talk) 20:41, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

None of your content was edited. A heading was added. I apologize if this caused offense.Arri at Suburban Express (talk) 20:47, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
How is #2 possible if you only cater to students like you said in this section:
Here is the complete list of lawsuits:
IP user stated elsewhere that he would refrain from posting messages to talk page Arri at Suburban Express (talk) 20:29, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Once again, you are attempting to out an editor from discussing on this talk page. (talk) 20:38, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
For #3, the letter (as seen here never mentions anything specific relating to the claims of libel made. Not even once. Everything is 100% generalized. (talk) 20:32, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Proposed Edit

Could someone without a COI consider this / make the change?

The article currently says "According to Ars Technica, 'internet vigilantes' took down the Suburban Express website, stole the founder's identity and hacked into his Reddit account in response.[5]".

The identity theft part is a mistake. If you read the linked source, it does say "stealing Toeppen's online identity" in the intro paragraph, but later goes on to clarify that what happened was his Reddit account was hijacked. There's no indication that any additional identity theft occurred, and surely it does not warrant being listed twice.

 Done Gaijin42 (talk) 15:35, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

I don't have a COI because all I care about is neutrality, FYI. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 17:28, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Given your previous, and potentially current, email communication outside of Wikipedia with the subject of discussion, I believe a COI still exists and should be noted. (talk) 17:36, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
I was mostly referring to my own COI. I didn't mean to imply anything about you, Biosthmors. NegatedVoid (talk) 19:50, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
However, Biosthmors accepted Suburban Express' paid editing offer and hence does have a CoI. AlmostGrad (talk) 20:14, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Is everyone in this thread using the Wikipedia definition of COI, which is outlined at Wikipedia:Conflict of interest? By the way, talk pages are for discussing ways to improve the article per the Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 09:24, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
In no way am I suggesting you refrain from participating on the talk page. Everyone is always encouraged to give input. I'm merely saying that because your participation on this page originated from communications off-wiki with the owner of Suburban Express and a reward of $300 (regardless of whether this is still in effect), you have a COI. The wiki community now has no way of determining if you are still communicating with the owner (off-wiki) and/or if you will still be receiving payment. That is all. (talk) 09:50, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
So when you use the term COI are you using the definition at Wikipedia:Conflict of interest or an external definition that has no relevance here? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 10:51, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
I think that you are referring to the bolded definition at the beginning of the guideline. It is the jewel in that patchwork randomly-wide-ranging mess that follows. Because adding in that "mess that follows" would tend to indicate that you (and about 80% of all Wikipedia editors) have a COI. And that "gold standard" definition is hard to judge. IMHO, to outsiders who don't know you, (like me) at first glance this looks like a "COI is highly likely" situation. Not saying what you should or shouldn't do, but IMHO as a minimum, be cautious. North8000 (talk) 12:43, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Subtle POV in lead?

I would perform the minor edit of creating one paragraph out of the lead in the current version, but I'd rather someone else do that (even though that is quite silly, because it's just a minor edit). I think it was a peer review for deep vein thrombosis I went through that asked that one sentence paragraphs be avoided if possible. It can be avoided here. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 17:06, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

I'd suggest leaving it for a while and see how it evolves. I think it is highly unlikely it remains a single sentence for long, although it should remain still a brief high-level summary of the controversy and legal dispute. The reason I say this is that the Talk page consensus that was just worked in the section above dealing with the BRD, there was a consensus to make the legal dispute a new paragraph, as it clearly is not the main descriptive item for a company that has been around for a couple of decades.
Should it remain a single sentence for a month or so, we can revisit. N2e (talk) 18:52, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, you can see at Wikipedia:Peer review/Deep vein thrombosis/archive1 where I was told to avoid one sentence paragraphs. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 09:27, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
In my opinion, this awkward formatting contradicts our aims to Wikipedia:Be neutral in form because the dangling sentence attracts eyeballs. Wouldn't it just be a minor edit? I've never heard anyone suggest anyone wait a month to make a minor edit that is what I would consider to be a neutrality issue. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 09:30, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
I'd vote to restore N2e's sentence as part of 1 lede paragraph. N2e's read "The company has had many legal disputes with competitors and students."--it was short and general, and could be included in the first paragraph rather than called out. But I'd also note that section titled "Disputes with passengers and competitors" no longer mentions competitors (!). Knowing how bitter/notable/surprising competition was (worth, at least to Greyhound, bringing action at the ICC for simply providing service and lowering fares to the public) I'd like to see either more at the end of the section before, or more at the start of the "Disputes" section.KevinCuddeback (talk) 16:01, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Proposing inclusion of complaints to Illinois Attorney General

I think the complaints made by students to the Illinois Attorney General constitute an important detail of the controversy and hence should be included in the article. It is mentioned in several sources in the Links related to Controversy section above, including:

  1. Source #1 (The Daily Illini) says: "... University attorneys can only represent students who have cases in or originating in Champaign County. Although Betz cannot represent students in this situation, he said he is advising them to submit complaints to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan."
  2. Source #3 (Paxton Record) says: "Knudsen said the Student Senate discussed the lawsuit issue at a meeting Wednesday and plans to send a letter to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to explain the situation and to ask for assistance."
  3. Source #4 (The Daily Illini) says: "Student Body President Damani Bolden responded with his current progress on this issue. “I am drafting a letter on behalf of the student body to the attorney general (Lisa Madigan) addressing this issue,” Bolden said."
  4. Source #14 (Paxton Record) says: The Illinois Student Senate was preparing to send a letter to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to explain the situation and ask for assistance.
  5. Source #15 (The News Gazette) says: "The Illinois Student Senate was preparing to send a letter to the Illinois attorney general's office to explain the situation and ask for assistance."
  6. Source #16 (Chicago Tribune) says: "Scott Mulford, a spokesman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan, said Madigan's office had received about a half-dozen calls or consumer complaints about Suburban Express in the past week."
  7. Source #22 (The Daily Illini) says: "Scott Mulford, press secretary for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, said after receiving about half a dozen complaints against Suburban Express, his staff recently began looking into the issue."
  8. Source #24 (The Daily Illini (Editorial)) says: "... when there are multiple students pursuing legal services for the same problem, why is advising students to submit their complaints to the Illinois Attorney General the only thing the University can do?"
  9. Source #26 (American Bar Association Journal) says: "Following outraged calls to the office of the state attorney general and others, the company withdrew all of its Ford County suits..."
  10. Source #28 (Ars Technica) says: "Toeppen became the focus of much Internet anger and earned the attention of activist attorneys and the Illinois Attorney General after threatening to sue a reddit moderator."
  11. Source #33 (Ars Technica) says: "The case attracted the attention of angry reddit users, the media (including First Amendment law blog Popehat), and (according to a report from The Daily Illini) the Illinois Attorney General's office." AlmostGrad (talk) 04:14, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose #4 only says that they will draft a letter and the writing of a letter is not significant. #16 is a quote and a half-dozen complaints is not a significant either. Same with #22. For #26, it might be worth a minor clarification, because the current article I don't think states why the lawsuits were withdrawn. And for #28, "becoming the focus" is not anything for us to cover. If the Attorney Generals actually initiate a lawsuit or take action, we can cover it. CorporateM (Talk) 19:44, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't really follow all your reasoning, and some of it is your subjective opinion ("writing of a letter is not significant", "a half-dozen complaints is not significant"), but you think that a statement from the spokesman/press secretary of the state's chief law enforcement officer, published in the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper which has the second-highest readership in the state, is just "a quote" to be dismissed, especially when it is regarding an otherwise barely-notable company? AlmostGrad (talk) 00:50, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
In general we don't include individual quotes, unless they are the subject of sufficient analysis. For example, the current article contains some quotes where the comment itself went viral on social media or sparked a dispute. Another example would be that I just added commentary to the Edelman (firm) page recently, but the source was The New York Times and it suggested the commentary represented an industry-wide consensus. We also don't cover plans to do things, unless they are unquestionably notable. The US government's plans for its space program might be something where we would expect the content to be more forward-looking than we would normally expect.
If for example, there was an article from the local paper with the title "Attorney General says they are 'looking into' complaints about Suburban Express" then there would no longer be a weight issue and we would want to include it. Because the company is barely notable is a good reason for a small article as oppose to exaggerating its significance by including every detail available in the sources.
Lets see if anyone else picks up on this string. CorporateM (Talk) 01:18, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

AlmostGrad, it should be noted that so far the only feedback is someone opposing use of 1 of the 12 sources that you noted. And I agree with them and so that just means folks don't like using #4. North8000 (talk) 12:20, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

My own feedback is that in general such should be covered but that you have yet to get to the stage of a specific proposed addition / change. And given that this is a contentious article, I think that that stage is needed. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 12:20, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

I concur with North8000, in that it is difficult to discuss this without a specific proposal being made. When it is, I'll weigh in on the discussion. Until then, I'm agnostic on the idea.
As a general note, I read CorporateM's concerrn to be the potential for WP:UNDUE. I would tend to share that, as a potential concern; but again, without a proposal, difficult to say. For example a single sentence that mentions IL Atty Genl office being invited to get involved would be one thing; a meaty paragraph on this particular/narrow aspect of the case, with a bunch of quotations of people involved, would seem rather to be rather undue. N2e (talk) 14:13, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
AlmostGrad, just clarifying, you did fine on the first stage of the discussion. In this case stage #2 is needed. North8000 (talk) 14:52, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Specific changes

It would go something like this me thinks:

"116 of the 126 lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice after the Illinois attorney general got involved in response to complaints from students"

CorporateM (Talk) 14:23, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

I don't think that is entirely accurate, since the media backlash had more to do with the company withdrawing its lawsuits than the complaints to the Attorney General. AlmostGrad (talk) 20:51, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Proposing text to be added

I propose that he following text be added to end of the first paragraph in the Disputes with passengers and competitors section:

Since attorneys from the university's Student Legal Services were unable to represent the students sued in Ford County, they advised the students to complain to the State Attorney General instead.[Source #1] The Student Senate resolved to send a letter to the Illinois Attorney General and seek her assistance,[Source #3, #4, #14, #15] and her office confirmed that they had received about half a dozen complaints in a week and were looking into the issue.[Source #16, #22] AlmostGrad (talk) 20:49, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for putting forth a proposal. Seeing it, I'm going to OPPOSE the proposal and suggest we boil it down to a single sentence or so. Wikipedia is not a news source for current events, and this administrative action (not a legal action at this time) is a pretty small fish in the grand scheme of things for a company-specific article on Wikipedia. Would suggest a single sentence for the whole Atty Genl matter, to avoid WP:UNDUE weight, perhaps with all or as many of your suggested sources as you think appropriate. Cheers. N2e (talk) 02:24, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Revised proposal for text to be added

On the basis of comments and suggestions above, here is a revised proposal for the single-line of text that was recommended:

The State Attorney General's spokesman said that their office had received about half a dozen complaints about Suburban Express in a week.[Chicago Tribune reference]

Or, even shorter:

The State Attorney General's office received about half a dozen complaints about Suburban Express in a week.[Chicago Tribune reference]

AlmostGrad (talk) 19:17, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

So we might want to say what the AttyGenl's office is doing what it is doing, something like:
"In Month Year, the State Attorney General's office is following up on the situation after having received several complaints about Suburban Express."
If reliable sources support that, and it's covered in the news, then it would seem Wikipedia might mention it too. The concern I have here, and I have it about a lot of this article, is that once a matter moves into the political sphere (who said what and what political constituencies are unhappy about that) it is quite possible that the political drama surrounding a relatively small part of the total 20+ year life of this company supplying economic services, voluntarily undertaken by ten of thousands of customers, gets overshadowed by the legal disputes surrounding a few hundred of those, and the political constituencies that stand to gain, or lose, from the political disagreement. I just hate to see Wikipedia get all embroiled in that. N2e (talk) 22:09, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

News Gazette

I tried to fix up the legalistic language with that edit. I hope I didn't introduce any inaccuracy. The article needs to be clarified a bit using the News Gazette, in my opinion. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 03:43, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

I'm going to read the News Gazette sources to see if I can make sense of things, then I plan to be back with ideas on how to improve the article, FYI. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 03:48, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
That one seems to be the most recent (July 30th) that I've found thus far. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 03:58, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

edit req

Please change

<ref name="oli">{{cite news|first=Will|last=Brumleve|url= |title=Judge allows bus company to refile some claims against passengers |work=The News-Gazette |date=July 31, 2013}}</ref>


<ref name="oli">{{cite news|first=Will|last=Brumleve|url= |title=Judge allows bus company to refile some claims against passengers |work=The News-Gazette |date=July 31, 2013 |archiveurl= |archivedate=2013-08-11}}</ref>

To fix the dead link. (talk) 00:32, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Wait, I skimmed the page last time, now I see it isn't exactly a dead link, but has issues (requires you take some odd survey). (talk) 00:36, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
 DoneI have made the requested change. Seems like the archiveurl is helpful in any case. N2e (talk) 05:13, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Copy edit

Just noting here that I've copy-edited this to tighten it so that we're not over-egging the pudding. I also removed blogs, per WP:SPS and WP:BLPSPS, and refs that were purely repetitive.

I also think we should look at whether two articles are needed about essentially the same topic, namely Dennis Toeppen and Suburban Express. Might be better to redirect one to the other and merge content. Where there are BLP issues, the usual thing to do is merge the BLP into the other. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:44, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Slim!! It looks better(ish) I think, though probably a bit too far the other way. The Ars Technica blogs are written by Sean Gallagher, who has a long career in professional journalism working for most of the major names in tech media (CMP, Ziff Davis, TechTarget, etc.). However, I think some of the most POV-laden material was sourced to TechDirt, which is a pretty trashy publication in general. There are some slight synth issues, like saying they are "known for" or "have a reputation" but these exist on most articles and I don't see them as pressing issues. CorporateM (Talk) 01:28, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
With all due respect, these are huge edits without any discussion on the talk page. I think the proposed edits should be discussed prior to them being made. (talk) 01:39, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks @CorporateM: I did keep the Ars Technica sources, but removed the TechDirt ones, which seemed just to repeat the main points. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:36, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Oops, I see them now. I think the reason it comes across as the pendulum swinging too far is because it only covers "enforcing their terms of service" but the other half of the controversy is over allegations that they troll internet users that criticize them online on Facebook, Reddit, etc. The whole Steissand effect bit, leading to the appearance of internet censorship, which is why it was covered by a lot of tech publications. CorporateM (Talk) 03:10, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
That last thing gets tricky because we can't know who is posting that material. For a serious allegation about a living person, we'd need excellent sourcing, e.g. that someone admitted having done it, or that someone had taken action against them convincingly, or a high-quality mainstream source had repeated the allegations. That's particularly true of a borderline notable person, because the negative quickly overwhelms everything else.
Also, the Streisand effect thing becomes circular. Someone mentions Streisand effect, so someone else adds it to WP to make it true. I think we should not get involved in the meta stuff, or the minutiae, but should just stick with the broader brushstrokes. If you look at the article before April 2013, none of this was there (even though there had been lawsuits before 2013), so this is all RECENTISM. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:01, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Hello @SlimVirgin:. A few other references of note:
  • The Chicago Tribune piece seemed notable,
  • The ABA Journal wrote about the legal angle [1],
  • There's an international piece in China News, describing how to avoid being taken advantage of if you are a Chinese student in the US [2], syndicated to a few Chinese sites.
The online attacks against student critics have a primary source - the attack pages hosted on the company's website. – SJ + 03:31, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
  • As the one who wrote the Dennis Toeppen article, I already checked for the very same issues before starting the article; whether he was notable without the bus company. The answer is a distinct yes, as shown by the AFD on Toeppen's article, and any merge of the two articles would be unviable I think, because neither article would be able to cover all the points of the other. Hence the best option that I see fit is to leave both the articles as the way they are. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 12:47, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Proposing Sections

I think the current version should be reverted prior to SlimVirgins edits (until there is discussion)... I also believe there needs to be 2 different types of dispute sections. There are disputes initiated by competitors (ie Greyhound) and disputes initiated by the company (lawsuits against competitors, customers, online critics, forum moderators, etc). I think these need to be differentiated. (talk) 02:04, 9 November 2013 (UTC)


SlimVirgin has whitewashed the criticism parts, keeping Suburban Express' version of the events and statements made by them ("We have a few very simple rules..."), while removing anything that others said, and deleting the online trolling and astroturfing parts completely, along with the parts about suing online critics, and mention of the Streisand Effect. And of course there is plenty of WP:SYN, along with obfuscation of context and background in a manner that favors the company. On a quick glance, some issues:

  • "The company has become known, particularly on social media, for legal disputes arising from alleged violations of its terms of service."
"particularly on social media" - Says who? The lawsuits have been covered in newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, News-Gazette, Paxton Record, Kankakee Daily Journal, The Daily Illini.
  • "The case triggered discussion among students on Facebook and the UIUC subreddit, a threat by the company to sue the subreddit's moderator"
"a threat by the company to sue the subreddit's moderator" - Why? What's the context? The moderator was threatened out of the blue?
  • "116 of these were dismissed with prejudice, though some of the dismissals were overturned."
"116 of these were dismissed with prejudice" - Who initiated that? Why?
"some of the dismissals were overturned." - Who initiated that? Why?
  • "In the 12 months prior to April 2013 it carried around 100,000 passengers, running up to 75 buses a day."
The source only says that the owner claimed that, and thus this should not be stated as fact in the article.
  • "The company advertises that it hires only non-smoking drivers, and there is free Wi-Fi on all its Mercedes-Benz Sprinters and on most of its buses."
This is essentially an advertisement for the company (sourced to the company's own website), which, according to the lead section of the article, apparently doesn't even own its buses, and contracts them from other carriers.
  • "The company has acquired a reputation for pursuing alleged violations of its terms of service"
How did they pursue? The fact they legally pursued is not evident, and this vague sentence could mean anything.

I am also interested in knowing why SlimVirgin is allowed to make unilateral changes like these, to a contentious article like this, without discussion or consensus. Is this because they are an admin? Is there any policy that grants admins special powers to do this, overriding consensus that was reached after lengthy discussions on the talk page? Calling their edits "copy edit" is a gross understatement, and is misleading. It was already demonstrated that there were no significant inaccuracies in the text. Copy editing says:

Copy editing is the work that an editor does to improve the formatting, style, and accuracy of text. Unlike general editing, copy editing might not involve changing the substance of the text.

This does not describe SlimVirgin's edits. AlmostGrad (talk) 16:51, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

SlimVirgin is free to be bold, as are the vast majority of editors. Other editors are free to request reversal of the change, per WP:BRD. I believe only a very few editors, those with conflicts of interest are proscribed from directly editing the article. I'm interpreting the comments of (someone's edits, above; don't see the original comment signed, so am unclear on who is presenting the argument) to be a rather indirect and unclear request for a BRD discussion on this Talk page (only a lot of other stuff has been added that is unrelated to the potential BRD). If that is what you want, I would make the request more clear, and provide a diff of the specific edit you would like to see reversed. I'll do my best to come back here and weight in on any substantive points of the BRD. I imagine other editors will do the same. Cheers. N2e (talk) 22:21, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
No, SlimVirgin is not "free to be bold" on contentious articles, if I understood the WP:CAREFUL section of WP:BOLD correctly:
"... changes to the articles on complex, controversial subjects with long histories... should be done with extra care. In many cases, the text as you find it has come into being after long and arduous negotiations between Wikipedians of diverse backgrounds and points of view. A careless edit to such an article might stir up a latent conflict, and other users who are involved in the page may become defensive. If you would like to make a significant edit—not just a simple copyedit—to an article on a controversial subject, it is a useful idea to first read the article in its entirety and skim the comments on the talk page. On controversial articles, the safest course is to find consensus before making changes..." AlmostGrad (talk) 04:59, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

To Neutral Editors

I understand that the talk section of this article has taken a turn for the worst. While I understand I have a COI, would a neutral editor/admin please review these points. They point to specific areas of the content.

1) View the questions raised in the Comments section about the article. 2) Review the quote "In the 12 months prior to April 2013 it carried around 100,000 passengers, running up to 75 buses a day." (source 4) since this is a quote from the owner, not fact. 3) Review the quote "The company advertises that it hires only non-smoking drivers, and there is free Wi-Fi on all its Mercedes-Benz Sprinters and on most of its buses." (source 3) since this is pulled from the site and is essentially an ad. 4) Look at suggested articles brought forth by Sj since they are the American Bar Association and an international publication warning internationals about Suburban Express (to show how significant the controversy was). 5) Review my recommendation for 2 sections (talk) 05:07, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Hi IP 24.15.... I saw your note here some days ago, and now I just saw it again. Both times, the five step process (with, it appears, substeps in some of the steps) seems just a bit more involved/daunting than I have time for—so it just doesn't get done. Perhaps that is true of other editors as well.
So I'm throwing out an idea here: do you think you could boil your highest priority request down to a smaller and much more incremental request? one that I, or some other time-stressed editor could grok in a minute or two, and then just decide whether or not to make a single marginal change? If you can, I'll do my best to get back here and try taking a look, and honestly consider it; and I'm guessing it would also make it easier for other non-COI editors to consider your request even if I were to fall off the face of the Earth. Once that one is ticked off, whether answered to your satisfaction or not, you could move onto another incremental request. Recommend a new section for the simpler request. Just my two cents. Cheers. N2e (talk) 01:13, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Good idea. A good way to start. North8000 (talk) 02:02, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Number 2 and 3 can be done just be reviewing the references. (talk) 00:49, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Discussions at boards

For anyone interested, I had not realized how controversial this issue had become on Wikipedia. Wikipedia:Bounty board has been marked as historical after being nominated for deletion by user:DGG in response to Suburban Express's post offering compensation for creating a more desirable version of the page. I just noticed that Suburban Express' offer was also cross-posted on the Reward Board, which also led to a deletion discussion of that board nominated by User:Sven Manguard, but with a KEEP outcome. All the humbah might explain a few things and I figured it was odd no one provided a few links to other areas where the article is being discussed, though there is probably not much there in terms of discussion relevant to improving this article. CorporateM (Talk) 14:20, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Actually, Miniapolis was the one that nominated the board for deletion, and I was the one that closed the nomination. As an extension of that close, the Suburban Express thread on the reward board has been closed. Sven Manguard Wha? 15:42, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
First off, full disclosure. I did not even know of the existence of either the Wikipedia:Bounty board, the bounty process for getting a donation made to the Wikimedia Foundation, nor the Wikipedia:Reward board, until I saw CorporateM's comment above, just a few minutes ago. Further, I expressly state I do not have a WP:COI with respect to Suburban Express.
Having said that, there could be an (unintentional) misimpression by the comment CorporateM left that
  • the board had been "marked as historical after being nominated for deletion by user:DGG in response to Suburban Express's" offer; and that
  • that SuburbanExpress, or the owner of the Wiki-ID that put forth the offer, was somehow doing something duplicitous, or outside of Wikipedia policy.
I'm reading it to be quite the opposite, and thought I should make that clear here on this page since the Talk page has been so darn controversial. I just read both pages (the bounty and reward pages, now historical of course), and I do not see that the overall bounty/reward policy was affected by the specific Sub Express offer. And I do not think that an officer or owner of a company, believing their company to be maligned on Wikipedia by insufficient attention to the details of what is in specific sources, and that those sources are being cherry-picked or used unevenly to harm the company, is in any way doing a bad thing by offering a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation for other Wikipedia editors to go in a try to clean it up.
From what I can tell, the offeror had disclosed a WP:COI, and was working entirely within wikipolicy. Moreover, the editor who had accepted the challenge (before the boards were shut down and therefore became historical) also explicitly stated they had declared a COI, per policy.
So it looks to me like, per policy, a company wants to be treated fairly, not unevenly or better than sources indicate, and had used correct (then extant) process to possibly help achieve that. Any interpretation to the contrary, on that point, does not seem supported by the facts I just reviewed. Cheers. N2e (talk) 22:49, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
My reading agrees with your N2e, the boards were nominated for deletion for other reasons; the bounty board closed for its inactivity. The discussion about the reward board (and the current discussion about how to improve it) later used the SubEx offer as an example of something that many users of the board don't find appropriate; but it was posted in good faith in accordance with the board guidelines at the time. – SJ + 03:44, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
The board was nominated for deletion as a direct result of their post, however you would have to have seen the prior ANI string where that discussion started in order to have that context. The reward board post was hatted by the closing admin as having been found inappropriate by consensus as an attempt at paid whitewashing. CorporateM (Talk) 06:58, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Legal disputes as mentioned in the lede

The current sentence in the lede on the legal disputes says:

"The company has had more than 200 legal disputes arising from alleged violations of its terms of service, leading students to criticize the bus service online."

That seems accurate, but could be more clear. The term "legal disputes" does not clarify directionality. If a company has been sued by customers or subcontractors or employees or vendors that is a rather different thing than the company filing legal actions against customers or subcontractors or employees or vendors. My sense is that the lede, in order to accurately summarize the article body, ought to clarify the directionality of the suits. From what I read in the sourced material in the body of the article, it seems the company has been doing the suing.

Since this page has recently been so contentious, I'm throwing the thought out here in order to discuss the general idea, before suggesting any particular words for such a change. What think others? N2e (talk) 19:02, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

"The company has filed at least 205 lawsuits over alleged..." would agree with the body of the article (209 - 4 = 205). —rybec 19:34, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Okay,  Done. N2e (talk) 18:25, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Newspaper articles provided by owner of company

The owner of the company has gotten permission to republish the newspaper articles linked below. Since he's blocked from editing, except for his talk page, I'm reposting this on his behalf (reformatted from the original).

Daily Herald


Daily Illini

rybec 20:38, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, rybec. I've not looked at any of those to date, but they are definitely an important resource to any editors who ever come along and endeavor to improve the article, since so many of the sources in the article for the recent controversy are from borderline reliable? sources. N2e (talk) 01:23, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, starting to head towards sources is a good way out of what this article has been experiencing (even if there might be some selection bias for this particular list) . I've also not analyzed the above yet. North8000 (talk) 13:10, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I glanced through all of them. Most look like real sources. (albeit hand-picked by the owner) The ones identified as releases or an LTTE aren't. Also the one on Grayhound commissions has only one "reduced commissions" factoid in it. BTW it seems like the company / name had 3-4 different in there. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 00:43, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Interesting indeed. The "bad checks" article is about using the WWW to publish the SSNs and personal phone numbers of students whose checks bounce. I tried to match the link-descriptions with the article titles. – SJ + 21:55, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

There is a discussion about whether the file File:Sebanner white.png, used in the infobox, is in the public domain due to failing to meet the threshold of originality. You are welcome to participate in the discussion at Wikipedia:Non-free content review#File:Sebanner white.png. RJaguar3 | u | t 14:25, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Better sources needed

The most notable sources (all linked above) are:

  • The original Daily Herald piece (currently ref #1 in the article)
  • The Chicago Tribune
  • China News
  • The ABA Journal

The last three are not currently mentioned in the article; they should be added. – SJ + 02:03, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

I have a potential COI here, and I am largely ignorant, but I'd suggest scrapping the China paper. What's a Chinese source going to have on the others? By the way SJ, could you reply to my email when you get a chance? Thanks. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 02:33, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Links related to Controversy

Here is a list of articles about Suburban Express and it's controversies. I'm creating a section for it so others can contribute - please don't delete from it, though. It was started by AlmostGrad and moved to it's own section by NegatedVoid.

  1. (05/02/2013): Le pouvoir des masses numériques, pour le meilleur et pour le pire (Translation)
  2. China News (10/14/2013): 赴美留学:行前需多了解当地生活细节避免被骗 (Translation)
    Syndicated to: and
  1. Ars Technica (04/26/2013): Express to Internet Hate: Bus company threatens redditor with lawsuit
  2. BoingBoing (04/27/2013): Suburban Express bus-line sends bullying, cowardly legal threat to Reddit, discovers Streisand Effect
  3. Popehat (04/28/2013): Suburban Express Took The First Bus To The Streisand Effect. Have They Disembarked In Time?
  4. Techdirt (04/29/2013): Bus Company Threatens Redditor With Lawsuit, Meets Ken White, Runs Away
  5. The Daily Dot (04/29/2013): Bus Company Threatens to Sue Redditor Over Bad Press
  6. Chicago Tribune (05/01/2013): Bus company's lawsuits anger students, parents
  7. Ars Technica (05/02/2013): Nonstop to schadenfreude: Suburban Express’ u-turn on reddit lawsuit
  8. American Bar Association Journal (05/03/2013): Cheap bus ticket included a trip to small-claims court for unwary students
  9. Slashdot (05/04/2013): Redditors (and Popehat) Versus a Bus Company
  10. Ars Technica (05/13/2013): Troll road: Bus company posts “dirt” on complaining passenger
  11. Techdirt (05/17/2013): Suburban Express Goes Double Or Nothing On Their Aggressive Behavior
  12. Ars Technica (06/19/2013): Bus company that threatened redditor with lawsuit tries to reopen suits
  13. Techdirt (06/24/2013): Suburban Express Wants Round 3: Re-Files Against Customers
  14. Ars Technica (06/25/2013): Bus co. owner threatens redditor yet again, records users’ IP addresses
  15. Uproxx (06/26/2013): Meet Suburban Express, The Bus Line Fighting A War With Reddit Over Negative Comments
  16. Popehat (07/29/2013): The Popehat Signal: Suburban Express Doubles Down On Attacks On Critics
  17. Techdirt (07/31/2013): The Popehat Signal Goes Out Against Suburban Express
  1. The Daily Illini (04/19/2013): Suburban Express lawsuits lead to controversy on social media
  2. The Daily Illini (Editorial) (04/24/2013): Suburban Express mishandles student allegations
  3. Paxton Record (04/25/2013): Bus company suing UI students for violating 'terms and conditions'
  4. The Daily Illini (04/25/2013): Public addresses Illinois Student Senate regarding influx of student-aimed Suburban Express lawsuits
  5. The Daily Illini (Opinion Column) (04/25/2013): Suburban Express causes its own problems
  6. The Daily Illini (Letter to the Editor) (04/25/2013): UI should defend international students, disallow Suburban Express services
  7. The News Gazette (04/26/2013): Bus firm's lawsuits criticized
  8. The Daily Illini (04/26/2013): Suburban Express lawsuits reach 125 this year; conversation continues on Reddit
  9. Paxton Record (04/29/2013): After backlash, bus firm pledges to dismiss all suits
  10. The News Gazette (04/30/2013): Bus company promises to drop Ford lawsuits
  11. The News Gazette (05/01/2013): Bus lawsuits dismissed in Ford County
  12. Paxton Record (05/01/2013): Suburban Express lawsuits dropped
  13. The Daily Illini (05/01/2013): Suburban Express drops lawsuits and updates terms and conditions
  14. WCIA 3 News (05/01/2013): Bus company drops civil suits against students
  15. The Daily Illini (05/02/2013): UIUC Subreddit hits front page, Streisand effect leads to increased attention for Suburban Express lawsuits
  16. Kankakee Daily Journal (05/02/2013): Bus company drops lawsuits in Ford County against college student riders
  17. The Daily Illini (Editorial) (05/02/2013): University administrators absent in Suburban Express incidences
  18. Paxton Record (06/25/2013): Suburban Express wants to refile some of its cases
  19. The News Gazette (06/26/2013): Bus company wants to reinstate some lawsuits
  20. The Daily Illini (06/27/2013): Suburban Express lawsuits not gone for good
  21. WCIA 3 News (06/27/2013): Bus co. owner may refile lawsuits
  22. Paxton Record (07/30/2013): Judge grants motion to allow Suburban Express cases to be refiled
  23. News Gazette (07/30/2013): Judge allows bus company to refile some claims against passengers
  24. WCIA 3 News (07/30/2013): Bus owner in court

Newspaper articles provided by owner of company

The owner of the company has gotten permission to republish the newspaper articles linked below. Since he's blocked from editing, except for his talk page, I'm reposting this on his behalf (reformatted from the original).

Daily Herald
Daily Illini

And there are some sources from the archives. Perhaps there is some duplication here, though. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 00:21, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Newspaper articles provided by owner of company

The owner of the company has gotten permission to republish the newspaper articles linked below. Since he's blocked from editing, except for his talk page, I'm reposting this on his behalf (reformatted from the original).

Daily Herald


Daily Illini

rybec 20:38, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, rybec. I've not looked at any of those to date, but they are definitely an important resource to any editors who ever come along and endeavor to improve the article, since so many of the sources in the article for the recent controversy are from borderline reliable? sources. N2e (talk) 01:23, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, starting to head towards sources is a good way out of what this article has been experiencing (even if there might be some selection bias for this particular list) . I've also not analyzed the above yet. North8000 (talk) 13:10, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I glanced through all of them. Most look like real sources. (albeit hand-picked by the owner) The ones identified as releases or an LTTE aren't. Also the one on Grayhound commissions has only one "reduced commissions" factoid in it. BTW it seems like the company / name had 3-4 different in there. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 00:43, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
Interesting indeed. The "bad checks" article is about using the WWW to publish the SSNs and personal phone numbers of students whose checks bounce. I tried to match the link-descriptions with the article titles. – SJ + 21:55, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

"Negative online reputation"

I made that edit because I thought we were overstating the source. What is the threshold on Wikipedia to plainly state that any company has a "negative online reputation", in Wikipedia's voice? I am not sure it is wise to summarize the source in this way. Instead, I summarized the facts as they were presented in the source. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 00:33, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

It is not a summary of the source, but rather is supported directly by it. The source says: "The company has developed a bad reputation online." What do you propose? CorporateM (Talk) 01:22, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
The current state of the article, which instead uses attribution, is an improvement, in my opinion. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 23:33, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Inaccurate summary

The article contains this apparently inaccurate summary: " 'outraged calls' from parents and the attorney general". When I tried to verify that I instead saw evidence of outraged calls to the attorney general[3] and upset parents calling the Ford County Court.[4] Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 00:41, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

User:CorporateM, I notice you've made that edit since I made this comment, but this doesn't make the sentence any more accurate, does it? I didn't see "after being contacted by the attorney general" verified in the sources, which I link above. I had previously thought of replacing it with "following agitated calls to local legal representatives", or some other accurate (right?) summary. Best. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 00:21, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
I just trimmed it. I don't have much of an interest in this page and as long as you follow WP:COI by proposing changes on Talk, there is no need for me to protect it against COI. If you want to ask anyone else, I support any reasonable edits they may make, even if it means changing content I may have added. Cheers. CorporateM (Talk) 00:41, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(I'm univolved with this particular edit in question, or with having noticed the fact that the edit apparently does not line up with the source—so am just offering an opinion after reading the above three comments):

IF the edit that was made was made by CorporateM AND IF the edit that was made to the article prose does not accurately reflect the material that was in the source, THEN I would think that much more of an apology ought to be offered by CorporateM than merely a lame statement of not caring much about the article any longer and only trying to protect it from COI. In other words, if a mistake was made in an edit to the Wikipedia that doesn't reflect the source document, then let's call a spade a spade and apologize for it, not merely deflect the concern with some material unrelated to the concern of the editor who chased it down and found the discrepancy. N2e (talk) 05:03, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

I just made a quick look...a few words in a large edit were questioned and in response the editor changed them. Looks routine to me. North8000 (talk) 15:37, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Inappropriate use of a source?

If the poster at RSN is right, it appears we have an article with a POV/non-third-party source cited multiple times (Ars Technica {with regard to reddit-associated content}). Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 16:02, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Conde Nast spun off Reddit as an independent entity in 2012, so the Ars Technica articles from last year are definitely reliable sources that were written without collaboration with Reddit. Gulugawa (talk) 17:07, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Even if that's true, mightn't there be some neturality concerns still? What brings you here, WP:SPA? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 23:28, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
  • No comments on whether the source is neutral or not, but Biosthmors deserves a trouting for that last sentence stating What brings you here, WP:SPA?
Wikipedia frequently sees editors (including myself) starting their Wiki-career with only a single topic, and regardless of whether they have any COI or not, New editors have the right to be treated with respect and civility (From WP:SPA). As far as our COI involved editors follow the best practices for discussion, they are absolutely free and welcome to edit here. Biosthmors, please focus on edits not on the editors, and as always, Assume good faith.
Peace. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 18:22, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
So ... no one on this very active talk page wants to discuss this potential neutrality issue? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 16:17, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I'd be happy to try to help/discuss, but I don't see where anybody has identified the text in question. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 18:38, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm with North. I didn't see any proposal concrete enough for me to weigh in on. Suggest you take some one or two narrow areas in the article, show the problem, and propose a solution. (Preferably in a new ===Subsection=== below, so we can all track what the proposal is, and indicate our rationale for support or opposing. Cheers. N2e (talk) 18:42, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies, and I can look into that, but I'm just introducing the idea that this article uses a non-traditional not-so-third-party blog when it comes to a dispute on reddit. I'd rather not use a blog that could have a horse in the race, and I don't know why anyone would. Just us using them could be creating undue weight towards a pro-reddit POV. Point taken, though, and I can look at specifics. Thanks again. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 18:58, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Ars Technica is a reputable news source and is not considered to be a "non-traditional not-so-third party blog". They had no affiliation with Reddit at the time of publishing the article, so it is unlikely that they would have been collaborating. Gulugawa (talk) 19:55, 23 January 2014(UTC)

Biosthmors editing article

User:Biosthmors, who is a paid editor for this article and hence has a CoI, is editing the article directly and removing reliable sources like China News from the references in the article. Their edits should be reverted and they should not be editing this article. AlmostGrad (talk) 20:45, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

As you can see above, I recommend not using the Chinese article. Do you think they would publish a correction if they got anything wrong on the story? I don't. If you're going to state that I'm a paid editor, perhaps you could tell me how much I've been paid, or perhaps you could pay me so I know it's true that I'm a paid editor? Just a thought. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 00:28, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
AlmostGrad's diff shows you writing "offer accepted" on the reward board, [5] where the owner of Suburban Express had offered payment of $150 or $300 for working on this article. Now, you're editing the article. The assumption that you have been, or expect to be, paid for it was a reasonable one. If the deal fell through, why not just say so plainly? —rybec 01:55, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Ugh, I thought I was done babysitting this article. It is hard to tell what was changed looking at the diffs and I don't have the time/interest to figure it out but if the summaries accurately represent the content, they do not sound like good edits. Yes this is an encyclopedia, which is why we summarize all the viewpoints fairly. It is hard to say if Bio actually has a COI, because IMO, it is very unlikely he will ever actually be paid. However if he is making edits at Toeppen's request, that is an interesting form of block evasion. CorporateM (Talk) 22:12, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
I have had a chance to review each edit in individual diffs. Most of Bio's edits look fine to me and it is appropriate for him to make copyedits even if he does have a potential COI. Some of the most recent edits, like especially this one in particular is of a POV nature and removes a source that was previously proposed by one editor and implemented by another. I think I would fall on the side of not making this edit, but if any actual disinterested editors feel it is a good edit, they should do so without making a royal case out of it. Cheers! CorporateM (Talk) 23:22, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
What is the point of the sentence "Some students said the bus driver should have refused them if something was wrong with their ticket, while Suburban Express claims checking tickets and IDs would slow onboarding", and how is removing it non neutral? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 00:28, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Well... we could go back and forth on it I think. NPOV says to summarize both points of view fairly. I noticed all the sources I was adding included a lot of content about this issue, but each publication used one student's anecdote, so it's a slight bit of original synthesis to say "some students". There is a common sense counter-argument to that ("representative of the sources") and it could be re-worded to avoid synth. NPOV says we must also evaluate whether the level of detail is significant and there is no clear criteria for that, especially considering BLPGROUP. I think the best for now is to just let another disinterested editor make a choice and roll with whatever they do. CorporateM (Talk) 01:30, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Biosthmors, my thought is to suggest to err on the side of caution. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 01:55, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

I think Biosthmors has an undisclosed COI for the following reasons.

  • He accepted a bounty by Suburban Express to edit this article, and has only been actively editing this article since then.
  • He suggests that he may have a COI here.
  • When asked about the possibility that he has a COI, he has dodged the question.
  • At times, his writing style sounds very similar to Suburban Express.
  • He says here that has contacted the owner of Suburban Express via email here
  • On his talk page, he says: " I am strongly pro-paid editing".

Gulugawa (Talk) 17:07, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Additionally, I have specified on my user page that I have a potential COI but not a real COI because I just want this article to be netural. My personal financial circumstances are inconsequential to the neutrality of this article, in my opinion. As an aside, it is not polite to assume someone's gender on Wikipedia. My gender is not specified on my user page. Talk pages exist to improve the article, and I don't see this thread going in that direction. At all. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 22:31, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Nor is it wise to try to target me personally with factually inaccurate assertions such as "has only been actively editing this article since then". That might be considered by some to be harassment. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 22:34, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Better sources needed

The most notable sources (all linked above) are:

  • The original Daily Herald piece (currently ref #1 in the article)
  • The Chicago Tribune  Done
  • China News  Done
  • The ABA Journal  Done

The last three are not currently mentioned in the article; they should be added. – SJ + 02:03, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

I have a potential COI here, and I am largely ignorant, but I'd suggest scrapping the China paper. What's a Chinese source going to have on the others? By the way SJ, could you reply to my email when you get a chance? Thanks. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 02:33, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
I threw in SJ's suggested sources. CorporateM (Talk) 14:28, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Inappropriate use of a quote

Under the "Services" section, one of the sentences says:" In the year prior to April 2013 it carried around 100,000 passengers, running up to 75 buses a day". I took a look at the Daily Illini article that was a source and I noticed that the sentence was taken from a quote by the owner of Suburban Express instead of being backed up by a reliable source.

The total student population for the universities that Suburban Express services is approximately between 120,000 and 200,0000 people, and it is doubtful that over 50% of them used a Suburban Express bus in the past year. I suggest that the sentence should be removed until we can find an accurate figure for the number of passengers that isn't from last year. Gulugawa (talk) 19:57, 23 January 2014(UTC)

Good catch. Attribution fixes the neturality concern, in my opinion. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 21:31, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
That looks better, but I still think it is better to remove the quote until we can find a reliable source backing it up. Gulugawa (talk) 20:48, 23 January 2014(UTC)
Thanks, but it is already backed up by a reliable source: The Daily Illini. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 21:51, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Where does a neutral third party source say that Suburban Express carried 100,000 passengers in a Daily Illini article? I know that the quote is present in the Daily Illini article that was cited on the article page, but I don't see anything indicating that what the owner is saying in his quote is correct. Gulugawa (talk) 20:55, 23 January 2014(UTC)
We don't need a neutral third party source to say it in their own voice. We attribute as the neutral third party source does. Therefore, it is verified by a reliable source. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 22:25, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
A quote is not automatically verified because it is published in a neutral third party source.Gulugawa (talk) 05:12, 23 January 2014(UTC)
Please see Wikipedia:Verifiability for the definition as it is should be used in this thread. Best. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 00:12, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
I think that WP:V and WP:RS would be met merely be the fact that the source is considered a reliable source, whichever voice the statement is made in. In other words, newspapers of that sort say what they say whether it is in the reporter's voice: "...carried 100,000 passengers..." or presented in the voice of the person the newspaper was interviewing: "... the company spokesperson said that they carried 100,000 passengers...". Obviously, we can make the context clear on the Wikipedia article prose; but either way, it is a reliable source for purposes of WP:V. N2e (talk) 01:50, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
Gulugawa, "passengers" is commonly understood as "people making trips", and since statistics are "anonymous" fares, passengers is commonly understood as "one-way trips". Therefore 100,000 therefore quite plausible. Your critique, seemingly based on "unique customers" (as if carriers counted "by name") is not standard. In transportation statistics, passengers are counted by counting "one-way un-linked trips" see sources like [6]. So a normal set of assumptions would be: 10% of students student making round trips at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring/Easter/Whatever would be counted as "6 passengers" in that cycle. So just 12,000 "regular-but-infrequent" customers on 3 round trips would be understood as 72,000 passengers. Statistically, it is also likely that 1% any community are "frequent fliers" (say, visiting or being visited by a girlfriend/boyfriend 2x per month). A good estimate, therefore is 1200 "frequent" customers making 10 round trips/year would be counted as 24,000 passengers. 72k + 24k =~ 100k and there's no reason not to take the Daily Illini quote.KevinCuddeback (talk) 22:25, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Proposed edit

I propose that "but some dismissals were overturned" is changed to: "On May 28, motions were filed (by Suburban Express) to vacate 22 of the dismissals with prejudice — and change the dismissals to "without prejudice," allowing them to be refiled." per the current reference since this quote gives more information about how the dismissals were overturned. (talk) 23:39, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Perhaps so, I'm not a lawyer, so that kind of language goes over my head with just a quick read. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 23:33, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
Based on the Paxton-datelined article[7] I think the "Most cases historically=Ford County=No Legal Services" sentence should be move up in the story so that the 116 (or 22 or however many) can be seen to be "un-dismissed/de-prejudiced" in Ford so that some could be refiled in Champaign (and so "the action is in Champaign" is the conclusion that should go at the bottom). KevinCuddeback (talk) 05:36, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Cleanup in Aisle 8

This article reads as a slam piece. Someone not previously involved should get in there and fix. I would do it myself but for the fact that I have a full plate as it is. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:20, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

There were a lot of fireworks here. I think that the article as it is was mostly written by neutral editors trying to help. I think that the reality is that most of the coverage in sources (and thus items considered by sources to be newsworthy) was about battles between them and their customers and them and other entities over their practices and actions, and the article followed those. But more work on it would be good. Additional sources have been supplied which need review and potential incorporation. North8000 (talk) 12:25, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Here's what I'd say still needs doing:

  • History...too much emphasis on "the founder" (needless BLP entanglement, with phrasing like "He chartered 6 buses"), and not enough on "breaking Greyhound's monopoly". Breaking monopolies and monopolies not wanting to be broken is highly notable, and the article from that time makes clear that Greyhound's actions (ICC & predatory pricing) were aimed at keeping its monopoly and Suburban Express "broke Greyhound's monopoly on the route"
I made a first pass at this based mostly on Daily Illini sources linked aboveKevinCuddeback (talk) 17:07, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
  • History...huge gap between 1989 and 2013 (24 years out of 31--77% of "History"--are missing). Some kind of "growth" story would be good. (I'd note that in the 1985 article they quoted a market of 300 round trips per week, of which Suburban Express was getting half (150). That's a "baseline" of 300 x 30 weeks x 2 each way = 18,000 non-holiday passenger trips per year, of which Suburban Express was (in effect) claiming 9,000 passengers in "baseline" weeks...consistent with my doodle (above) that they may do 24,000 passengers in similar trips today (across more campuses and given falling auto use).
  • Business Practices and beginning to "show its age" longer "current", so tenses need overhauling. And it still has a grab-bag of facts feel to it.
The Business Practices and Lawsuits is still relevant. Suburban Express has filed around 20 lawsuits this year. If you go to the small claims section here and enter "Suburban Express" as the last name, you will get a list of lawsuits filed by Suburban Express. Case#s 14SC000273- 14SC000291 were the lawsuits filed this year. Also, he still has the haters pages about me and other critics of Suburban Express. Gulugawa (talk) 19:10, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
That's a great link, Gulugawa (and personally love Original Research and am sad we can't use it. Myself, I'd love to get the Illinois Commerce Commission files from 1984-1985. I'm sure they'd show all kinds of new legal precedents were being set). Still, while 20 cases in Champaign seem to keep fresh the "small claims" narrative, the fact that they are now in Champaign County (close, and do students get free legal help?) makes the old "Ford County" complaint (far & no free help) look more stale. As North8000 points out, its going to be hard to update neutrally. I mostly limited myself to timing/tenses for that reason. KevinCuddeback (talk) 19:27, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

KevinCuddeback (talk) 23:07, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Good ideas & thoughts. Now we just need someone (neutral) to do them. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 10:28, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Knowing the Business Practices & Lawsuits are a hot subject around here, I've done what should be non-controversial tense changes (has->had; says->said), and made a cut at the April 2013 "batch" of 126 complaints that were filed, withdrawn, dismissed, refiled, and re-instated. {incidentally, where they re-instated in Ford County or Champaign County?}KevinCuddeback (talk) 17:07, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Sources 2 (Christian Science Monitor, November 1983), 3 (Almagamated Transit Union, 2011), and 4 (Christian Science Monitor, December 1983) do not mention Suburban Express at all and hence don't belong in this article - at most a wikilink should be added, pointing to the corresponding section in the Greyhound article. Reference 7 (Russell's Guides, 1999), which I have understood to be some kind of list of bus schedules, is unlikely to to contain content verifying the sentence it purportedly supports. Sources 8 (webpage of Illini Shuttle) and 15 are primary sources (webpage of Suburban Express), making promotional claims (non-smoking drivers, free WiFi) not verified by secondary sources, and hence should not be included in the article. AlmostGrad (talk) 13:01, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
I've taken AlmostGrad's point about theGreyhound Lines strike, but don't quite get the source-numbered comments. The Greyhound article needed (and got from me) some serious help on sources and chronology, so I have used a wikilink as AlmostGrad suggested, right? The Jan 1984 Illini article made reference to first operations "during the recent Greyhound...strike" and now we know what that was. Russells Guide is like the Official Airline Guide--a timetable, yes, but also a kind of almanac or gazette of "did the carrier go there". I wonder if the September 1999 date is a typo. Somewhere there's a bus-spotter or a Transportation Library with them all lined up ;-)KevinCuddeback (talk) 17:02, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
KevinCuddeback and N2e: Adding a wikilink to another article is not the same as using Wikipedia as a reference and is thus not circular sourcing; the Greyhound article should contain the sources. A source which does not mention the article subject at all is off-topic and should not be present in the article. It is irrelevant to this article whether the Greyhound strike was nationwide or violent - it is only relevant that Suburban Express started during the strike, as is stated in the sources that mention it.
Since KevinCuddeback said he was confused by my earlier comment, I have edited it, adding in source names to the numbers. AlmostGrad (talk) 05:53, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
I see both AlmostGrad and N2e's points and thank them both. The Illini source offers during the Greyhound bus driver's strike as context the way a source might refer to the Shuttle disaster(if writing in 1986) or the multistate power outage(if writing in 1965). To the news reporter, there had been a first-ever, widely-reported instance of such an event, and the reader could be presumed to know what that was, and what it meant as context (for the event we're trying to verify/describe). Now, alone, the source can't speak for itself on the context it thought it had "nailed." Is there standard practice in such cases?KevinCuddeback (talk) 11:53, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
On the single point of the only edit I've made recently, I merely thought that the sentence in the article—"Between November and December of 1983, Greyhound Lines suffered a nationwide, sometimes violent, strike by its drivers."—needed a source, and thus reverted the removal of all three sources and replacement with a wikilink. It appears someone has now added the wikilink and left the sources. That seems better. Now then, it is quite possible that this article does not need all three sources for that strike sentence and one or two of them would be sufficient. But I would still take the view that the statement made in this article needs a source to be provided in this article, and that a wikilink alone won't suffice. N2e (talk) 12:34, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Bad Checks on Website (1996)

Can someone without a COI post more about this article supplied by the President? It explains in detail that Suburban Express posted social security numbers and addresses of its customers on its website. Please refer to the 3rd paragraph. (talk) 01:29, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

It also would need context, but once you understand the context, it becomes omitable. Any NPOV presentation would require too much context to be "worth it". The article's significance is that a "standard merchant practice" (for the 1990s) for handling bad checks has moved to the internet. But bad checks were/are a big deal in campus communities. Back then folks were just starting to take SSNs off checks and driver's licenses --which had gotten there by default--or the insistence of the state DMV/RMVs ("everybody" had the SSN on both). (It is strange enough having to explain the significance of the bus strike that led to SE's founding), but back then merchants posted bad checks (sometimes in shop-windows) so each-other could be warned off bad-check-writers. There were no easy credit checks, and data was just starting its acceleration, and practices with regard to SSNs were changing. When customers ordered checks at a bank, many pre-printed their SSN on the check itself as part of the address, because you knew merchants would ask for it on the check before they accepted it. Driver's licenses also used a SSN as the ID by default (then it became optional, and finally states imposed alternative numbers) In the 1990s, if you presented a check to a merchant, you *had to* (by widespread understanding, regardless of what the law said) write your SSN and show your Driver's license (which had your SSN). (Also credit card use was rare: (MBNA was still getting going and merchant-acceptance was rare). Lawsuits have the same meaning throughout the ages, but bad checks and check-validation cannot be used in an NPOV way without all that context. KevinCuddeback (talk) 12:17, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

CorporateM suggested this addition

In the early 1990s there was a debate among local college students regarding Suburban Express' practice of publishing personal information about customers that paid using a bad check.[1].

Actually, from the article, it is more like bad check-writers and some students and professors took issue with what the ACLU called the "not uncommon" practice in which merchants have "the right to publicize the customer's name and check" In short (the ACLU spokesman said) "If you don't want to be on the Web, don't write a bad check". As a "controversy" this would be NPOV only if it were clear that the ACLU took Suburban Express' side. As it is, except for "Several Internet newsgroups" it isn't clear how wide or deep the "debate" was, and no evidence at all that it wasn't basically a blip as both history or controversy.KevinCuddeback (talk) 20:59, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Revisions of May 13

Good faith edits by CorporateM sought to implement WP:CRITICISM by integrating some "business practices" passages into the History section. I saw the following problems:

  • WP:CORG foresees/accepts the need for "controversy" sections (and is the applicable subpart of WP:CRITICISM
  • The "debate" about bad checks is based on a single source--and for all we know, a single article. Can't call it "in the early 1990s", more like On January 17th, 1996 (article publication date)(more above), but either way it doesn't work as chronology because we can't say it was part of the company's "unfolding story" --or a strange blip (perhaps even a meaningless one, not worth junking up a chronology)
  • The Lawsuits ...some against competitors has a span of 20 years, but if you were to characterize those 20 years, the source shows they were "mostly quiet"
  • The "against some competitors" part of the lawsuits tally is actually redundant in the history section (because, as noted and sourced in the History section), the "against competitors" legal actions were the back-and-forth in the fare war with Greyhound.
  • The in the "209" article makes it clear that a "normal" historical year might have had 0 to 4 law suits (the mode-most years--had 0 and the median is 2). As history, you'd have to tell it more like "In about 1/3 of years, Suburban Express sued nobody, and in 80% of years it brought 10 or fewer actions to enforce its terms and conditions. 2013 was unusual in that it saw 125 cases. The public reaction to this spike in litigation caused the company to change its policies and bring actions in a forum where students would have legal aid."
  • So as history the 20-year "block" screws with the unfolding "years", and makes the litigation look both too spread out "20 years" and misses "the spike" and its reddit-storm, and the company's business-practice changes (like choice-of-venue) that followed.

KevinCuddeback (talk) 20:22, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Regarding "against some competitors" I am left a bit clueless, because I did not make any edits along those lines. The others don't really seem important enough to debate - either way is fine. I don't think it matters if there is only one source. It is a marginally notable company and we don't need multiple sources to add stuff (I noticed you added stuff using primary sources, which are much weaker), however I just noticed now that it is the student paper, which is not an RS. CorporateM (Talk) 21:17, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Here [8]this is the revision in question in which you took the chunk with the phrase "against some competitors" and put it up in the History section. In the "Business Practices" section it was an elegant summary by another editor, but as re-located it loses its context and its elegance and is a random, near-meaningless statistic.KevinCuddeback (talk) 21:28, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
The link you provided as a diff says at the top "no difference". Also, when I look at the current and previous versions of the article, I don't see that text anywhere. So I'm still left confused... CorporateM (Talk) 21:48, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Fixed the link (the exact words are "while four were against competitors") I'm concerned that during your edit-storms, when you say things like [9] "please take it to Talk and let me finish giving it a read-through" that you are using the live article for Sandbox functions and you are not really looking closely at either the sources or what you are making them say KevinCuddeback (talk) 21:56, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
In this little revert triplet,[10], you say "The lawyer is speculating about their motives, but we do not cover speculation even when sourced". But the lawyer is only giving a Chronology...any speculation about motives is *yours*. The source confirms a chronology that looks like request for investigation, decline investigation, Greyhound raises prices slightly KevinCuddeback (talk) 22:22, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
"Edit storms", yah, ok. Anyways, the diff you provided shows "while four were against competitors" in both versions, both before and after the edit. Regarding the speculation by the lawyer, to say "after X, B happened" is obviously intended to suggest causality. The source also has tons of information about every little price modification and I don't see a need to include all of that - just a price war that led to prices halving is enough. Anyways, I'm all done doing some routine copyediting, trimming, etc. and am scooting over to the next article I'm working on today. My suggestion would be to seek a third opinion informally and go with whatever they suggest, as I don't expect I'll change my mind. CorporateM (Talk) 22:33, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

About 75 buses a day isn't what the source says

This edit changed "on up to 75" to "or about 75", but that appears to misrepresent the source. It says that the company only ran 75 buses 3 times that year. We need something like "up to" put back into the sentence. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 02:40, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

I agree with Biosthmors. I urge reversion of CorporateM by any 3rd party (not me as the most-recent editor) and close review of all his work. I found CorporateM's changes to be un-Talked, and so fast that I'm not surprised to see a loss of connection to the sources. I also think that the attribution to the company was useful. I feel the same need for attribution about the edit immediately prior which replaced one inferential chronology with another--and at best replaced one bias with another. It seems the best synthesis of his work and mine would be: KevinCuddeback (talk) 17:34, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
In February 1985, the company, by then called Suburban Express, asked the Department of Justice to investigate predatory pricing, claiming Greyhound's ticket prices were was below its costs and designed to drive competitors out of business. The Justice Department did not investigate, but according to Suburban Express' lawyer, the Department did send a letter to Greyhound, after which Greyhound raised prices.[2][3] KevinCuddeback (talk) 17:34, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Article protected

Administrative note: I have temporarily full-protected the article to stop the burgeoning edit war. I'd like to remind everyone that edit warring solves nothing in a dispute, and that COI policy discourages but does not disallow article editing. If someone feels that another editor's COI is an issue to the point that editing shouldn't be happening, you need to take that to the relevant noticeboard (WP:COIN or WP:ANI, depending on severity) or to Arbcom privately (if discussing the COI would involve revealing private information about the user). Hash things out on the talk page here, take it to a noticeboard, take it to anything but keep reverting each other. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 19:22, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Recent edits by User:CorporateM

Many/Most/All recent edits by this user seem to be inconsistent with statements contained in cited sources. I have therefore reverted them. I suggest that CorporateM reach a consensus on the talk page before engaging in, as one user put it, edit storms. 2602:306:C561:A2A9:21F:5BFF:FEBF:E186 (talk) 23:59, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

So the silly bit is that recent users have hacked out as badly-sourced parts where the "bad-sourc-ed-ness" is due to CorporateM's edits disconnecting the article from its sources. The sources were fine and so was the article before the May 2014 changes. The proper fix is not to take out the text, it is to revert CorporateM's changes and see that things were pretty good. Back in this version (in a part of the Services title not written by me) we find the sentence "According to the company, it hires only non-smoking drivers, has free Wi-Fi on most buses,[12] and in the year prior to April 2013 carried around 100,000 passengers, on up to 75 buses a day." Which first CorporateM hacked out the "According to the company", and then then RedPenOfDoom hacked entirely as being self-sourced, when, if it had just stayed as it was it was a reasonable attributed statement which contributed to a balanced article. KevinCuddeback (talk) 18:39, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Reverting edits by 2602:306:C561:A2A9:21F:5BFF:FEBF:E186

It looks like the edits by 2602:306:C561:A2A9:21F:5BFF:FEBF:E186 are still remaining. Should the article be reverted back to how it was when TheRedPenOfDoom made edits? Gulugawa (talk) 22:05, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Ars Technica

Ars Technica is amusing and a favourite of mine, but I don't believe it should be used as the main source for the subreddit argy-bargy, as it does not establish significance in any real sense. Guy (Help!) 21:46, 26 May 2014

Concur. It may provide sourced insight on aspects of the matter however. N2e (talk) 14:43, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Concur. Click-dependent blogs like ARS, BoingBoing, TechDirt, etc. do not strike me as good sources for encyclopedic content. (talk) 01:09, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Editing by COI User Gulugawa

COI Editor Gulugawa is strongly cautioned against editing in the article space. Suggest changes here.

2602:306:C561:A2A9:21F:5BFF:FEBF:E186 (talk) 15:14, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

I'm not making any edits to the article, I'm just reverting the article back to the way it was before you changed it. Due to the large amount of controversy surrounding this article, unregistered IPs should not be making edits, since they may be have a COI. Right now, I trust CorporateM more than you, since CorporateM has an established history of making positive contributions to Wikipedia, while you don't. Gulugawa (talk) 17:50, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

You are a COI editor. You also seem to be an SPA. You should not be editing the article under any circumstance. Rather, you should suggest changes HERE, in the talk section. Kapish?

2602:306:C561:A2A9:21F:5BFF:FEBF:E186 (talk) 16:28, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

I am not making any edits. This article should only be edited by people with an established history of contributing to Wikipedia, so I'm undoing your edits to allow them to do their job without disturbances. Gulugawa (talk) 21:50, 25 May2014 (UTC)
If this article should not be edited by IPs, it would be semi protected. If you think it should be semiprotected make a request. An edit being made by an IP is NOT a valid reason for reversion, and if you persist in disruptive behavior you will end up blocked. If there are a rpblem with the edits revert on solid grounds, or state your case here. Stop edit warring, especially without a valid complaint. WP:IP!=VANDAL WP:IPHUMAN Gaijin42 (talk) 15:07, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
I see that the IP has been blocked as a purported sock of Ari. I think the evidence is pretty flimsly, and looking at the edits the IP made, none of them seem particularly POVish, but it is what it is. Gaijin42 (talk) 15:11, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Flimsy indeed. By the logic propounded in the block discussion, all IPs that stop by here should be blocked for block evasion. Yeesh. (talk) 01:11, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Probable block evasion by is probably be a sockpuppet of User:Arri_at_Suburban_Express, who was permanently blocked for harassing another user last November. He is probably also be a sockpuppet of User:Thenightchicagodied, who was also banned for being a sockpuppet and harassing users.

I have reported the user and included more evidence here Gulugawa (talk) 15:35, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Since when is IP editing prohibited? Does User:Gulugawa WP:OWN this article? Maybe the rule just applies to this article and others that User:Gulugawa owns? (talk) 14:37, 2 June 2014 (UTC) (talk) is another sockpuppet.
The traceroute information for and returns almost identical information for each IP.
WHOIS also returns nearly identical information for both IP addresses.
I don't see a problem with IP editing, but sockpuppets such as yourself should not be making edits.
Gulugawa (talk) 18:05, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Vast conspiracy? No. Dynamic IP addressing? Yes. (talk) 16:10, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Be that as it may, your edit did not fairly summarize the content of the article and had the effect of whitewashing the lead section. The lawsuits concerned alleged violation of their terms of service, and the lead should so state. Coretheapple (talk) 14:15, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Exactly, they were enforcing their contract terms. You are incorrectly using the term whitewashing to describe a minor edit that had no impact other than to make the lead more concise. My edit summary was not misleading. (talk) 14:21, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, and as you know perfectly well, since you clearly are employed by the company, saying "enforce the terms of the contract" could mean virtually anything. It could mean nonpayment. To be clear, we need to say that these suits were over supposed terms of service violation, as the body of the article says. Coretheapple (talk) 14:27, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Shortly after the above comment was posted, there was section blanking of unflattering information at the Peoria Charter Coach article by an IP address registered to Peoria Charter Coach. Do you know anything about that? This place is a house of mirrors. (talk) 14:52, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
I made one small edit to the article to tighten up the language of the lead and that makes me an employee of the company? I guess your reverts make you an employee of the company's competitor then? (talk) 14:34, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
You have made multiple edits to the Peoria Charter page, which is a competitor to Suburban Express. You have also made questionable edits to this page using your other IPs. Gulugawa (talk) 14:55, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
You have made multiple edits to both pages, and an edit to Peoria Charter page was just made from an IP registered to Peoria Charter. If there is any evidence of wrongdoing here, it would seem to point to you. (talk) 15:02, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

"Enforcing" vs "Alleged Violations"

I attempted to put this heading above the last two entries, but user:coretheapple seems to want to revert every edit I make. So I'm moving the heading down to appease him. This section is for discussing the issue of wording in the second lead paragraph. "Alleged violations" is not NPOV. I believe "Enforcing" is more concise, accurate, and neutral. (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 14:31, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Here's a diff. Why is the use of "alleged violations" non-neutral and "enforcing" more neutral? I am not a lawyer, but I suppose some students might have somehow at least partially admitted guilt by paying fines, and in those cases the word "enforce" would seem to fit. In other cases, if someone disputed a lawsuit it seems "alleged violation" would be appropriate. Perhaps the sources use a third or fourth option that would please all. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 02:01, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Paying fines does not equal admission of guilt, partially or otherwise - most people pay the fines to avoid the hassle, inconvenience, and unpleasantness of a lawsuit. As this Chicago Tribune article says:
* ... the timing and location of the suit against her son were inconvenient ...
* "How many of those kids actually just paid to avoid this inconvenience?" she said. "That's what I think (the bus company was) hoping for."
* At least one passenger decided that fighting the company would be more trouble than it was worth. ... "We sent in a money order because, you know, hiring an attorney or driving down to Champaign, it's, like, $50 in gas," ... "No one has the time to deal with this." AlmostGrad (talk) 05:36, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Lawsuits from 2014

Suburban Express has filed more than 40 lawsuits this year, and the article should be updated to reflect this. You can see the lawsuits filed by to the small claims section here and doing a search with "Suburban" as the last name. What do you think of adding another sentence at the end of the "Business Practices and Lawsuits" section mentioning that Suburban Express has filed more lawsuits this year? Gulugawa (talk) 22:53, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

I only see 10 from 2014; it's not clear how comprehensive that database is. Can you find a better source? – SJ + 06:06, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
The problem with the court's site is that as a primary source (WP:PSTS), it is silent on how "like" or "unlike" past lawsuits the new ones are, so its dangerous to use the court records for a "further lawsuits" narrative. I've softened the "likeness" assertion by calling them "subsequent" and went back to the sources to see that a big part of why Ford-vs-Champaign was important is this question of UIUC's free legal aid. Sources show that the outcome of the dismiss-and-refile chaos was that "the action" shifted from Ford to Champaign and sources thought it notable that part of this is that Students got legal aid in the process KevinCuddeback (talk) 20:29, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Sj, the 2014 lawsuits have the following case numbers: 14SC000273-14SC000291, 14SC000523-14SC000532, 14SC000694-14SC000704, 14SC000742-14SC000749 - the cases are not listed in order on the court's website. Though a primary source, I think the court website can be safely used as a reference for this information, per WP:PRIMARY, since each case record clearly shows who the plaintiff is, and this source not need any expert knowledge for interpretation. -- AlmostGrad (talk) 20:52, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Also, this edit should be undone, as it shifts emphasis from the fact that students were ineligible for free legal aid in Ford County, which was what much of the controversy was about, and focuses on the fact that the refiled lawsuits in Champaign county made students eligible for legal aid. -- AlmostGrad (talk) 21:10, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Except that's precisely the problem, AlmostGrad: in a balanced article, the whole story cannot be "bad then=bad now," when "then" and "now" are different on "legal aid" If the story is "lawsuits are always controversial" than legal aid matters little and should be omitted. If the story was "Ford County=No Legal Aid" (and you and I agree it is) then a balanced article has to cover that the "old gripe" about "Ford=No Legal Aid" is no longer part of the SE business practices (which is at least half of what this section is about). A primary (court) source says there is "new" litigation, but even 2013 (secondary) sources "predicted" that cases in Champaign would be notably different than the old stuff. If my change is reverted to better explain "what the fuss *was* about", then it only increases the need to balance it with how responsive SE was or how not-applicable the old gripe now is. I preferred to keep it short and "business practice" focused. Also, this kind of the BLP problem...they keep living and the "whole" NPOV story changes as it unfolds KevinCuddeback (talk) 22:48, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
I've tried to improve the text. Sadly, we don't have access to Ford County records online so we can't see if the filings there have stopped. There has certainly been a steady new stream of suits in Champaign County - 55 since late 2013.
I see no reason to think the new cases are different. They're all suits for contract money damages of under $250, generally $20-$40. They are often dismissed before the hearing date (typical for cases filed mainly to pressure the defendant into settling). On the rare occasions when the defendant shows up they tend to prevail (that's one of the few suits that was refiled; most of the 20 whose dismissals were vacated were not refiled in Champaign County). All of this matches exactly the reported m.o. of the plaintiff from the mid-2013 reports. – SJ + 13:04, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
That's fine, but let's stick close to the reporting by Will Brumleve in (East Central Illinois') The News-Gazette. In Brumleve's reporting he's got a credible, neutral set of what the complaints were (but SE and its passengers) and the order & causality in which the mutual responses unfolded. KevinCuddeback (talk) 02:13, 9 July 2014 (UTC)


Not sure what to do with these, but sometimes talk here is "sourced". Rather than edit people's talk, are they a bug or a feature?KevinCuddeback (talk) 16:26, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^
  2. ^ Taylor, Barbara (16 February 1985). "Greyhound pricing illegal, bus service official claims" (PDF). Daily Illini. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference farewars was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Use of the word "monopoly"

There is some dispute about whether it is appropriate to refer to Greyhound's service in the 1980's as a "monopoly" (and Suburban Express as a monopoly-breaker). It's generally accepted that for a company to have a monopoly, there must be high barriers to entry for new firms and the product or service being supplied must have no close substitutes. There were not any unusual barriers to entry in the bus market and I would maintain that there were close substitutes (although this second point may be disputed).

Examples of substitute goods could include train travel or possibly automobiles/carpooling. It could be argued how "close" other forms of transportation really are to bus service.

In the article's current form, it says, "Dennis Toeppen, then a 19-year-old student at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC), and later Suburban Express' founder, chartered 6 buses, sold tickets through a local travel agent, spent $600 on advertising, and undercut Greyhound's fares by $4 to $8." This makes it pretty clear that there could not have been significant barriers to entry in the market. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CS1494 (talkcontribs) 15:32, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

I have reverted your edit. The sources clearly supported the prior wording. Your changes moved the article away from the sources. Editors should seek to converge with sources rather than trying to diverge from them. You argument regarding substitute modes is irrelevant. Greyhound held a monopoly in *bus transportation* between UIUC campus and Chicago area.
Further, there were high barriers to entry at the time. It was necessary to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity, which cost tens of thousands of dollars and was granted only if the potential new company could demonstrate that the incumbent (who was previously granted an economic monopoly) was not adequately serving the market. Suburban Express sidestepped those regulations by offering its service to a pre-formed group. Since pre-formed groups were not subject to the jurisdiction of the Illinois Commerce Commission, they were able to operate. As the sources indicate, Greyhound initiated two Illinois Commerce Commission investigations to try to squash their new competition but failed. (talk) 17:09, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
The fact that Greyhound held a monopoly should be emphasized in the history section of this article. In the 1980s, Greyhound was the only company approved to provide bus transportation from UIUC to Chicago and their ability to sell seats for a significant lower price than Suburban Express shows a large barrier to entry. Also, the things that mentioned as barriers to entry are significant. Gulugawa (talk) 02:20, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
That paragraph makes no sense whatsoever. (talk) 06:51, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree with both Gulugawa and the IP: In 1983, InTERstate buses had only been deregulated for about a year (by the Federal Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982 (sometimes "BRRA") (see, so you still had Greyhound & Trailways operating routes that they had secured monopolies on--some were profitable and some were not (the context suggests UIUC's was profitable) and you still had states enforcing/protecting state-granted inTRAstate monopolies (the meaning of Federal pre-emption and deregulation was still being explored for years afterword). Given that Greyhound twice sued Suburban Express in the IllComCom,the most logical reading is that Greyhound had secured both Federal and state monopolies, but even with the Feds out of the picture, Greyhound expected the IllComCom to exclude competitors and enforce its state-granted route monopoly. The Sources likely got it *exactly* right: Greyhound likely had an inTRAstate monopoly, granted by the IllComCom to operate as a common carrier (serving all-comers), and Suburban Express (as the IP above suggests), got around this enforceable monopoly by saying "we're not a common carrier", but an alternative like a charter group or a student travel club (these defined terms, in fact, arose at a time when discounts could not be offered to "the public" by airlines or buses) This also fits with UIUC's refusal to sell Suburban Express' tickets initially (something the sources make clear (and I put in--and also represented a serious barrier to entry) but which CorporateM probably cut KevinCuddeback (talk) 15:03, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Good work, Kevin Cuddeback. Wikipedia need more authors like you. (talk) 21:34, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

Owner's July 2014 Misdemeanor Arrest

I removed this arrest (discussed in an Ars Technica article) because there's no connection in our only source to Suburban Express other than "owner", and no source that the incident arose from Suburban Express business or had any impact on its policies or services. Mr Toeppen may be a wonderful exemplar of all kinds of things, as Ars Technica points out (like cybersquatting or the Streisand Effect) but all these are irrelevant here. If he were an exemplar of charitable giving of $1m per year or looking young at 50, it'd be irrelevant too (even if sourced in great detail). If you think it should be added back *PLEASE* be careful with legal terms like "and charged" sometimes *persons of interest* are arrested and turn out to be witnesses and not charged. and review the BLP warnings at the top of this Talk pageKevinCuddeback (talk) 12:09, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Chicago Tribune has linked it to Suburban Express now. I'll re-add it after waiting for some discussion. There should be more info coming out soon, it appears the (grand jury?) date is tomorrow. tedder (talk) 17:03, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
If you are so badly informed that you believe that a grand jury would be involved in a class b misdemeanor, then you should immediately recuse yourself from editing *anything* in this section (talk) 21:21, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
You're right, anon- I thought the Ars article had mentioned it. tedder (talk) 04:40, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
If the subject of the sentence you find yourself writing is not "The Company" it doesn't belong in this article. The subject of the arrest is Dennis Toeppen so it goes there, along with other things he did and happened to him. The company is not the subject of the arrest nor its business practices in any way implicated. The section we're editing here is properly about the company's business practices. The company accused of stuff, suing and being sued, etc. Not the Streisand Effect, and not Dennis Toeppen. You can say things that are completely true about Dennis Toeppen and still be libelous with respect to the company when written here. KevinCuddeback (talk) 12:42, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. It is off topic for this article on the company; appropriate for the one about the person (if not WP:UNDUE. N2e (talk) 16:21, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
So charges of harassment by the president *about* the company is considered off-topic? Interesting. tedder (talk) 00:18, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Interesting indeed... especially coming from editors who have added and supported the addition of three sources (currently references 2, 3, 4 in the article) that don't mention Suburban Express at all - apparently that isn't undue, off-topic, or indiscriminate information. I also think the large chunks of quotes lifted verbatim from sources, which are being used to pad the reference section (an issue with references 5, 8, 9, 10, 19, 20, 21, 24), need to be removed - we can go to the sources and look up those parts ourselves. AlmostGrad (talk) 16:39, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
If everyone were as careful as we'd hope in reading the sources, it would not be an issue since the earliest sources on the company refer both to Greyhound's monopoly and Greyhound's strike in their role in giving the company its founding context. These sources say that Greyhound is important--not us editors. These should have been sufficient except we've suffered edits that dismissed or denigrated these as "not really a monopoly" and not understanding that when a monopoly goes on strike it presents a need/opportunity for a competitor (if the Ill Comm Comish doesn't try to enforce its state-granted monopoly, which it did). The early, local sources understood that context but casual source-readers and non-readers have not. As for the president's arrest, you'll find a pretty clear separation in Wikipedia between corporate actions and the bios those of executives.KevinCuddeback (talk) 15:55, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

To further underscore the separation of Company and Biography, compare this list of Famous CEO Downfalls to the Wikipedia articles on the companies these CEOs led where the downfalls go near-unmentioned. These made sensational news in their day and were considered company news because a big/famous company had a top exec who misbehaved "on the job." But for an WP:Encyclopedia most of these bio-downfall events are not mentioned at all in the company's histories, or get a "resigned in controversy" (like HP's Mark Hurd, where we learn nothing of Hurd's underlying actions). Only when the executive's personal actions actually crossed over from career-ender and became a full-on *corporate* problem (like its revelation leading to the company's bankruptcy or breakup or Martha Stewart whose company depended on her image) does it actually get in the Corporation's article. Yes, these things make great *news* but Wikipedia is not news so news of a CEO's arrest, if the company is unaffected (an no source says it has been) it doesn't go in the company's article. KevinCuddeback (talk) 15:55, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Suburban Express won’t take Highland Park passengers

Suburban Express is denying service to passengers from a particular zip code. This is a rather unusual business practice and should be added to the "Business practices and lawsuits" section. Here is a source that talks about this. AlmostGrad (talk) 07:17, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

It's possibly of some interest, but not sure how encyclopedia-worthy it is. Every private business that operates vehicles (delivery and pickup services) must determine where it will operate, and where it will not. Unless there is a fraud committed (e.g, taking money and then not providing service, or misrepresenting terms and conditions of these private exchanges on offer, etc.) it is difficult to see how this makes the cut. A business decides to offer services in one area, but not another; dog bites man story. As for sources: it does have an adequate source, but again, getting a mention in a student newspaper, meaning it was of sufficient interest to meet their publication filter, doesn't mean it is the kind of thing to be abstracted and retained for a long-time in "the encyclopedia of all knowledge". N2e (talk) 05:12, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Attack pages hosted on company's website

There are several sources which detail Suburban Express' practice of hosting attack pages shaming its critics on its website. Most of the sources from this year talk about this; there are currently about a dozen such attack pages. Can someone please add this to the business practices section?

Pinging Sj, CorporateM, Tedder. -- AlmostGrad (talk) 18:28, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

You said above "There are several sources". Can you provide links? CorporateM (Talk) 18:31, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Sure - Ars Technica, Smile Politely, WCIA-3 (TV) News, The Daily Illini. -- AlmostGrad (talk) 18:38, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Venue for litigation changed back to Ford County (for Online); Champaign (for in-person)

(splitting the topics noted by Almost Grad) Also, the company has changed its venue for litigation pertaining to online tickets back to Ford County, according to today's Daily Illini. Can this also be added to the business practices section? -- AlmostGrad (talk) 18:28, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Seems best to source from the company directly too, since the The Daily Illini at paragraphs 7 &8 didn't really distinguish online/offline, so Company Website now says
If you do not wish to select Ford County as the venue for disputes, you may purchase your tickets in person at our Champaign, IL office. The venue for all disputes arising out of purchases made in person in Champaign, IL office is Champaign County, IL. Suburban Express Checkout Page

KevinCuddeback (talk) 13:38, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

How to present ongoing litigation (hard to get periodic/comparable numbers)

We need some sense of "how big" or how active the litigation is, and In general we favor stating numbers without a POV on whether it is a little or a lot. But getting meaningful numbers is hard because we're at the mercy of sources that pick different effective dates and different time window sizes. I recently edited the article to say "source needed" on the litigation totals. I'm not sure how useful a running count is, But I thought the Daily Illini had a nice recent statement:

According to the Champaign County Circuit Clerk’s website, seven similar small claims lawsuits have been filed by Suburban Express in 2015, all of them on Feb. 3. There have been no small new claims filed by Suburban Express in Lake, Cook or Ford counties in 2015, where the company had previously filed. Between 2012 and 2013, Suburban filed 126 lawsuits in Ford County against customers.

The first part (2015 cases) is the first cite I've seen that captured the ephemeral data on the CCCC's site. The second part was already sourced. Also there should probably be something about how both SE and Peoria Charter have used the publicity to drive special offers based on "taking sides" in the media controversy, which is called out in the grey boxes in the Daily Illini KevinCuddeback (talk) 18:30, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

We are WP:NOTNEWS - there is no need to keep daily tabulations. If the filings are notable (and most are not going to be) we can record the beginning of the process. if the results of a particular suit(s) are noted, we can describe the results, probably in aggregate statements. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 18:51, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Why Monopoly properly describes Greyhound's pre-Suburban Express market position

Monopolies are rare today, and many editors repeatedly attempt to downplay or remove the sourced fact that Greyhound operated a bus monopoly between UIUC and Chicago before Suburban Express (and its predecessor firms) entered the market. But the reality is that Monopolies *did* exist, and were particularly entrenched in transportation prior to the deregulation acts of the late 1970s and early 1980s (when Suburban Express was founded).

  • From 1935 onward, thanks to the Motor Carrier Act of 1935 the Interstate Commerce Commission had jurisdiction over interstate bus lines, and for a carrier to enter the market, they needed a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (permission to enter a market), something that the ICC was reluctant to grant in markets (like UIUC) that were thought too small to support competition. (and if Greyhound wanted to keep out a competitor, they could extend a bus across state lines to ensure ICC protection). Buses were technically deregulated in 1980 with the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 but the reality is that competitors were slow to arise and poorly financed (buses were assumed to be a losing business). The reality was, that until Suburban Express' predecessors started, Greyhound used its legacy of de jure monopoly to enforece a de facto monopoly.
  • The Illinois Commerce Commission similarly required bus carriers to obtain Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity before they would be permitted to compete with other, incumbent Carriers. In fact, as the sources in the article say, this was Greyhound's primary basis for seeking to legally defend its Illinois-granted monopoly: Greyhound maintained that Suburban Express needed to obtain permission from Illinois before it could break Greyhound's monopoly. You see in the Fare Wars source that "THE FIRST [Illinois action brought by Greyhound], in the spring of 1984, found the service was improperly operating as a regular operation without [Illinois]CC approval and regulation. Toeppen changed his service, officially making it a private charter service limited to university students and faculty so it would not be under the jurisdiction of the ICC."
  • Greyhound itself enforced its monopoly by its control over most of the USA's bus terminals and ticketing. As the owner of "the" bus terminal in most towns, it used its power as landlord to control other bus companies' access to the market. In the period immediately after federal deregulation, this was one way Greyhound maintained its monopolies: by refusing terminal space to competitors (see [[11]]), after terminating the terminal agreements, Greyhound still demanded that only it could be the seller of tickets within 25 miles of its terminals.
  • UIUC itself, because it got a generous commission on Greyhound tickets, refused to permit Suburban Express to sell tickets on campus. The inflated prices were used to subsidize other campus activities. See in the Fare Wars source where it says "UNIVERSITY OFFICIALS said they did not want to sell both types of tickets because they feared Greyhound would not approve and would dump the university as a ticket agent, meaning less ticket revenue for the university. 'We need to make a certain amount from ticket sales to contribute to (student programming)," said Jeff Sheets, manager of the travel center. "We were concerned about(Greyhound's) reaction.'"
  • Greyhound further engaged in predatory pricing, as monopolist do when defending their dominant market position, by pricing below costs on a specific route to punish/discourage a competitor. Objectively, from an economic standpoint, this is what happened. Sources tell us though, rather than admit this legally, Greyhound agreed to raise its prices rather than have the Illinois Commerce Commission suit by Suburban Express come to an official finding.

These 4 forces (Federal history/inertia, Illinois regulation, Greyhound control terminals, ticketing (and below cost pricing), and UIUC's enforcement of a ticket-sales exclusivity) all worked together to ensure that Greyhound had a monopoly in the fullest sense of that word. KevinCuddeback (talk) 21:15, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Getting closer to sources in wording; Removing "student" POV if evident

My last several edits have been aimed at reconnecting the article to its sources, both to ensure that the footnotes actually are the source of particular clauses (the ABA article was overused), and to tie things closer to sources for their NPOV word choices. Something I just noticed now is how often the current article uses "student" when, in fact, this is just an assumption (which we've all kinda overlooked), and therefore part of a borderline POV/NPOV of what turns out to be only "mostly true" rather than being NPOV and coming from sources which use nouns like "passenger" and other more NPOV/global/truer choices like "customer" or "user" or even "defendant" or "litigant". The Ars Technica "Express to Internet Hate" source, for example, uses the word student much more carefully. Ars Technica says SE "caters to students" but calls passengers "passengers" and reserves student for constructions like graduate student, international student, and student newspaper. Calling all UIUC subreddit participants "students" is likely incorrect given the amount of sock puppetry alleged there, but is also wrong for SE passengers since nobody really knows their student status, just that they travel to/from a college town KevinCuddeback (talk) 12:34, 6 October 2015 (UTC)

I think KevinCuddeback has done some good work here and I think there is more work to be done. The last paragraph strikes me as non-encyclopedic to an alarming degree. I am going to be bold and take a stab at improving it. (talk) 01:51, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
OK, I undertook several changes to improve the last section. Feel free to improve the article further. (talk) 02:36, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
This sentence

In April 2013, the company banned and sought a $570 penalty from a passenger whose allegations about a bus driver's racist comment were widely seen on Facebook and in a college newspaper.[25][31][32]

is very problematic. None of the three cited sources use the word "racist".

The student newspaper source that includes the $570 figure says "he was fined $570 for creating a disruption on the bus he was riding". The Chicago Tribune source says "a graduate student at the U of I complained on Facebook about what he alleged was rude treatment by a bus driver." The tribune also states that the amount of the suit was $500. I believe Chicago Tribune is a higher-quality source than a student newspaper. The News-Gazette source states that the passenger was pursued "for creating a disruption on the bus he was riding.

The word "ban" appears in none of the sources.

This sentence is also very problematic:

The case led to discussion on the UIUC subreddit, a threat by the company to sue the subreddit's moderator if they did not remove negative comments,[23]

The source states that the company asked moderator to remove false and libelous postings, quite different than mere negative comments.

Frankly, the entire paragraph is pretty trashy. But rather than delete it, I will attempt to fix it. (talk) 06:46, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

My judgment from the available sources is that the company's business practices are controversial. We don't like separate controversies sections, but in this case the controversies are legitimately bound up with/in the company's non-transportation behaviors (as far as sources go). I changed section headings on both "Services"-->"Transportation services" (to sort of say that buses, routes, and fares are not controversial) and "Business practices and lawsuits" to "Business practices and controversies" because my judgment is that lawsuits are a business practice of the company's that are at least as controversial as its terms of service and its no-exceptions must-print&present-correct ticket policy, and its media interactions (both admitted and alleged). The dividing line seems to run through "alleged driver behaviors", where there must be hundreds of non-controversial drivers (who, I'd suppose, live in the "Transportation services" section", but at least one driver that sparked an early controversy (that then set off the lawsuits and media controversies) and so goes in the "Business practices and controversies" section.KevinCuddeback (talk) 15:58, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Honor System

As I understand it, their ticketing and ticket collection system is essentially an honor system, like LACTC uses. On LA subway and light rail, you have to have a valid ticket, but the ticket is not checked. Suburban tweaked the model and added ticket collection without ticket inspection at boarding - and that apparently speeds up boarding. After the trip has departed, someone checks the tickets and bills anyone who has ridden a bus they are not entitled to ride. That seems like an efficient system. I think people may not understand the after-the-trip fare collection.

When someone doesn't pay, the company engages in collection action - first sending a demand letter and then filing suit in small claims court. (per a court transcript posted on one of their pages). So the customer has an opportunity to pay for his/her trip before the situation escalates. Separate and distinctly different from ticket cheats, they seem to be the victim of fraudulent chargebacks.

It seems to me that their innovative system creates benefits and costs for them. It speeds up their boarding and attracts customers, but it imposes on them risk of cheaters and collection costs.

Perhaps the last section should be broken into two: Business Practices, which non-emotionally discusses their unusual system and the pitfalls Controversies, which talks about public reaction to their collection action and their contentious interaction with social media. 2601:240:8300:D1C4:C063:1346:6A18:E56F (talk) 18:29, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

I see the point, and would use the transit-specific term Proof of Payment(POP) system (with limited fare-enforcement at boarding, fast boarding (often barrier-free), and high penalties if violated). Certainly is a widespread and well-understood business practice in the light rail transit world and some municipal bus systems (which use police enforcers issuing citations instead of small claims, I believe). I'd like to see either the company or a source claiming POP before re-sectioning, though.KevinCuddeback (talk) 18:44, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Department of Redundancy Department

There seems to be a great deal of redundancy in the last section. Looking back at the history, I see that there have very many small changes. That section is now a giraffopotamusgator. I think this section could use a complete rewrite instead of more incremental changes. Nevertheless, I removed a redundant sentence from the last paragraph. That paragraph now contains mostly the company's response to criticism. There isn't much response embedded in the other paragraphs in the section. (talk) 16:55, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

I have done a bit of tightening up the last section. I'm off to work now. No harm no foul if anyone wants to tweak what I've tweaked. (talk) 17:14, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Speaking of redundancies: Lawsuits are just controversies in court. I don't see giving undue weight to one forum or another of where the controversies were initiated or played out. Neither "We sued them" nor "they sued us" have any particular meaning greater than "we and they disagreed on what happened". I liked my section title "Business Practices and Controversies" for this reason. Business Practices are notable (in detail in most articles) and controversies follow closely, but both "Lawsuit" and "Social Media" are overly-specific on the flavor of controversy. KevinCuddeback (talk) 18:04, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
get the point from (talk) about "giraffopotamusgator". The problem is there are two threads (1) Terms of Service->Boarding Process->Post-ride Enforcement->Small Claims->Small Claims Backlash->New Equilibrium vs (2) Driver Comments->Passenger Offense->Social Media storm->Social Media fights->General Slander/Defamation Fight. These two only really intersect at the $500 "disruptive behavior" claim. Other than that they're more easily understood as separate things KevinCuddeback (talk) 19:20, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Edits by sockpuppet

Can someone please stop the destructive edits by the sockpuppet He/she attempted to change the category "Business practices and lawsuits" to "Social Media Backlash" to whitewash the article, despite national and international notoriety for the lawsuits. Since that failed, the sockpuppet has now made 10+ edits in an effort to clear other noteable content which is backed up by sources. Instead, the sockpuppet added a source directly from the company website which is in control of the owner. The owner has been banned multiple times from Wikipedia for destructive edits.

I agree that calling it "Social media backlash" isn't a good section title because it is both oddly one-sided (over-stating the social media impact or understating the legal one) and doesn't quite keep the balance of saying that every backlash is a response to a fore-lash. I didn't fully review the edits chronology, but it currently looks NPOV and corresponds to sources. I did change the section heading, though, to "controversies" instead of "lawsuits" because the lawsuits, while weighty are pretty "quiet" and the social & media controversy is tied to the business practices. I'll explain more elsewhere in this talk section about why I renamed the sections this morning. KevinCuddeback (talk) 15:46, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
When IP is "the sockpuppet added a source directly from the company website which is in control of the owner" which source are we talking about? Companies' sites can be sources for non-controversial facts (like schedule, fares, frequency, destinations, and "has WiFi") (Sorry, can't remember the WP: but we've linked to it before for transportation companies like Greyhound Lines, etc. I'd say that we've used the company site for terms of service too (as non-controversial fact)KevinCuddeback (talk) 16:23, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
Suburban Express is also unusual in maintaining an online "newspaper clippings" file (and getting releases from publishers). Yes, there's a chance that the selections are biased (there might be "really bad" articles not linked) but in general these articles seem NPOV and were originally what made the subject notable in a pre-controversy / Pre-2013 era.KevinCuddeback (talk) 16:23, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
Since articles 21-33 in the wiki are based on the lawsuits, not to mentioned over 30 in the articles related to the "controversy" section above, I think the weight isnot undue. While the term "business practices" covers the company's style of social media and other areas, the lawsuits account for nearly half of the total article. Furthermore, much of the "controversy" is the result of, or has some relation to, the lawsuits. (talk) 19:39, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
Calling them generic "Lawsuits" is a POV upgrade on about 200 Small Claims based on something like 5 non-small lawsuits (that have mostly lost notability over time). How about breaking the section into (1) Terms of service & Small claims and (2) Social media controversies. Section 1 would get all the TOS/ticket/boarding/collection complaints and defense and all the Ford County/Venue and TOS changes. Section 2 would get the driver/offense/defamation/FOIA stuff, or frankly, be dropped entirely as just a fight between a company and one guy.KevinCuddeback (talk) 19:51, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
I think that is fair; however, I would say "Terms of service and lawsuits" or at the very least, "Terms of service and small claims lawsuits". The word "lawsuit" does not create a POV, since most of the articles have that in their title. Saying "small claims lawsuits" would help clarify which type. (talk) 19:58, 1 December 2015 (UTC)