Talk:Suicide of Phoebe Prince

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Article name[edit]

I think this has to be renamed. Only three or so sentences are about Phoebe Price, while 95% or so of the article is about the bullying incident. It should probably be moved to Death of Phoebe Price or better yet Phoebe Price bullying incident. AniMate 06:43, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

See Category:Suicides due to cyber-bullying. The two members of the category are Suicide of Ryan Halligan and Suicide of Megan Meier. Eññe (talk) 15:38, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
16:11, 30 March 2010 Peregrine Fisher (talk | contribs) m (7,311 bytes) (moved Phoebe Prince to Suicide of Phoebe Prince: I think this is the standard name for these articles. Change it if you don't like it.)
Except that as DA Scheibel made clear in her complete statement (you have to listen to the video on the reference) that the great majority of the bullying WAS NOT CYBERBULLYING, just plain old fashion bullying at school, up close and personal and physical. She did blast the lack of cooperation from Facebook and Craiglist during their investigation, however. Is there a Wiki category for plain old bullying? Because Scheibel made clear that this was not CYBERBULLYING. Haviing a can of soda thrown at you from a car is simple assault and battery. Period. I think Death of Phoebe Prince or Phoebe Prince Bullying Incident makes more sense. This article is not really about her suicide - it's about all the events that led up to it and the subsequent investigation and soon to be trial and retribution and response of the school, community, and state to this event. DarthRad (talk) 20:00, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

I favor using Suicide of Phoebe Prince as the article name. Grundle2600 (talk) 20:52, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

There may be a better name, like Death of.... Category:Bullying has one that starts with suicide. Doesn't matter to me, but I know we some rule about not just using her name if the article is actually about a crime. There are Murder of... ones, I think. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 21:25, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
You are referring to the one event guideline. When a person is notable for a single event, the article title should usually (but not always) be about the event, not the person. Millions of people get bullied - what's notable about this subject is the suicide, without which it would not have gotten any media attention. Grundle2600 (talk) 21:52, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I was just now thinking that perhaps Bullying and Suicide of Phoebe Prince might be a more appropriate title. Grundle2600 (talk) 21:57, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
per my understanding of WP titles, the simpler and more likely as a search string the better. "death of phoebe prince" seems like the most likely, most editorially neutral and simplest choice. ive mucked up some article names by trying to make them too specific. the name of the article doesnt have to hold all the info on the subject. i do agree though that the bullying is a huge part of this articles notability, not just the suicide.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 01:51, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

No vigilantism[edit]

The sourced reference to vigilantism contains no such quote or claim, and should be removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:16, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Au contraire mon ami. The text of the referenced webpage does not contain the quote or claim, but the webpage includes the video of the ENTIRE statement given out by DA Elizabeth Scheibel. So far, nobody has transcribed the entire statement; one of the listed references gives only a transcript of a brief segment. And so to access all of what she said, you have to listen to the video itself. Scheibel indeed said a LOT more in her statement than has been reported and the statement about vigilantism coming from the Prince family is near the end of that video. I think this statement should be included as it would be tragic if some idiot did something worse in retaliation against these teenagers, as much as one might want them to be severely punished in public. I have downloaded the video and may post it to YouTube for posterity sake, and as a separate reference. This video is also the source reference for all the details about the three girls charged in Juvenile Court as none of the listed references bothered to go into detail about these charges in the written text. DarthRad (talk) 19:45, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

DarthRad, or anyone else, if you could add a footnote or link in the Wiki article (or here) to a video of DA Scheibel's statement I'd really appreciate it. I'm a psychology undergrad with a special interest in school bullying, and I've been unable to figure out where to find that video. If there was a link to it off the Wiki page or the links given I've been unable to find it. Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:02, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

  • The reference that has the video of DA Scheibel's statement is the reference titled "9 charged in death of South Hadley teen, who took life after bullying", from the Boston Globe, or Here it is again: The video had the NECN (New England Cable Network) logo on it, so I searched for it on the NECN website, and found it here: So I believe NECN owns the copyright to the video. It is possible to download this video with Firefox and a video streaming downloader such as DownloadHelper (or at least it used to be, DownloadHelper doesn't seem to work on those sites at the moment). I've emailed NECN about getting permission to post their video to this Wikipedia article. So far no response. As long as this video is still posted onto those websites, people still can get access to DA Scheibel's complete statement, which I think is a very important and powerful indictment of the bullying that was allowed to occur at the school. If the video or webpages get deleted after a time, it would be worthwhile to post it into this article under the "Fair Use" doctrine, since as far as I can tell, there is no other public record of her complete set of comments. DarthRad (talk) 22:06, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

School Bullying?[edit]

I think of this most tragic incident as school bullying only in the sense that I think of President Obama as an African-American; that is, the president is an American of African descent. However, since his mother was white and his father not an American, this is not an ethnic heritage that comes to mind as “African-American” in the minds of at least many people. Likewise, although Miss Prince was the victim of bullies from her school, this is not what I consider to be a true case of school bullying.

If anyone is interested in reading my dissenting take on Miss Prince’s case, then please insert “Donald Schneider, school bullying” into a search engine and look for my “School Bullying and Tourette’s Forum” which should be the first hit on at least Google and Yahoo. At present, my article on Miss Prince can be found by clicking on the button link on the lower left of my site, not far above the hit meter, with a red star next to it (indicating new content). After a week or so from the date of this note, one will have to click “Links” and then go to the Table of Contents, Page 5 to click. Everything at my site is free access with no ads or donation solicitations.

Although my short story “Pride’s Prison,” a thinly-veiled personal memoir of severe school bullying, has thousands of hits, and although my website will soon have 100,000 page views, I doubtlessly would not be considered an “authority” by many Wikipedian authoritarian types. Therefore, if I added a link to my article on the article page, I would probably be censored and maybe even suspended as an editor. Thus, I mention it here just so any who are interested may have the option of reading it, that’s all.

My claim to be an authority on school bullying is not so much derived from my extensive readings and writings on the subject, as it is from my personal experiences. To paraphrase Herman Wouk, the great American writer, in The Winds of War: “There are worse ways to learn war than by serving in the trenches.” Doubtlessly, others would disagree in favor of credentialism. Donald Schneider —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:13, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

  • "...although Miss Prince was the victim of bullies from her school, this is not what I consider to be a true case of school bullying."
  • That comment not only contradicts itself within the space of one sentence, the last part about this case not being a true case of school bullying would put your opinion into a minority of exactly one. You spend the great part of your post advertising yourself rather than explaining this statement. To paraphrase Herman Wouk : "There are worse ways to learn war than by reading about it from people who don't know how to write and don't know what they are talking about".DarthRad (talk) 21:34, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

--I believe my analogy concerning the semantic issues regarding President Obama’s ethnic heritage is defining. Indeed, this consideration is noted by Wikipedia at his page.

My thought processes are most clear within the article I reference, which had I felt comfortable adding as a link to the article page would have precluded my rather (admittedly) long and somewhat apologetic note on the talk page. In short, because there are school bullies does not preclude the possibility that said bullies can participate in heinous activities other than what I perceive to be traditional school bullying.

I define school bullying by motivation, just as homicide is (murder, accident, self-defense, war, etc.). In the course of my articles regarding school bullying, I draw a distinction between true school bullying and out and out criminality which should be addressed by the criminal justice system. Indeed, you yourself (most ironically!) made a similar point in an above comment you left when you said that throwing a soda can at the victim in this case was “simple assault and battery." I couldn’t agree more.

Please rest assured that I have no intention of altering the article itself and that I have never made a penny from any of my research or writings regarding school bullying. I never intend to try to and would refuse such if offered. I am, however, passionate about the issue. By the way, my writing per se can’t be all that poor as several publishers have asked me to review their books, including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a very old and prestigious house. I make no money off of that, either. Writing is an avocation for me, not my vocation. Donald Schneider —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:23, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Still don't understand what you are talking about. What do Obama and African-Americans have to do with Phoebe Prince? This issue of Obama's parentage and who qualifies as an African-American, is not a mere "semantic" issue. The questions resonate deeply in the racial history of America, and there have been tons of stuff written about it, none of which, as far as I can tell, have anything to do with Phoebe Prince.
  • Bullying is commonly understood to span a range of activities, from mere name calling and relatively "harmless" pranks to physical violence which could be actionable in the criminal justice system. For instance, getting beat up at school would, for boys, be a very common form of bullying. In legal terms, getting beat up clearly qualifies as assault and battery, and yet most cases where a boy gets beaten up at school are not sent to the criminal justice system. And so your comments have less to do with the "semantics" of how to define bullying and more to do with where the line should be drawn as to when the criminal justice system steps in. Intent doesn't really play much of a role in categorizing bullying cases, since upon close examination, the reasons for engaging in school bullying all seem trivial and stupidly juvenile in retrospect.
  • You misinterpreted my comment that Phoebe Prince had suffered from assault and battery - my intent was to push this article AWAY from being defined as CYBERBULLYING and more towards traditional, standard bullying, which does indeed commonly include physical violence.DarthRad (talk) 00:57, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

--DarthRad, Thank you for the more civil tone of your response. It is appreciated. Perhaps we do simply misunderstand each other. I apologize for any lack of clarity on my part that might have led to such.

The motivation for what I consider to be true school bullying is always the same: to torment and humiliate the victim. In other words, sadism. The perpetrators attempt to aggrandize their own egos by tearing down that of another. There is no motive beyond that. They find it pleasurable. It is personal only in the sense that once bullies have metaphorically marked a victim they will be relentless as long as the opportunity presents itself. It is not personal in that any target of opportunity would have done just as well: if not this kid, then that one.

At least until the rise of the internet age, bullying perpetrators did not even think about their victims after school (unless, they happened to live in the same immediate neighborhood). They do not care who, if anyone, the victim dates (if of that age), who his or her neighborhood friends are (if any), what he or she enjoys doing in his or her spare time, etc.. The victim is not so much a “person” to them, but rather a faceless target for their gratuitous aggression.

In contemporary times, this paradigm might in some cases be altered by the new opportunity of online harassment, so-called “cyber bullying.” This only changes the equation in that the target of opportunity has been expanded. Bullies need to do something with their time and malicious minds. From their ranks came the gulag and concentration camp guards of the Stalin-Hitler era; from their ranks come torturers for dictatorial regimes of any time. Such adult sadists don’t care who their victims are either. They simply relish the opportunity to give vent to their perverted natures.

What marks traditional school bullying victims is some perceived vulnerability, some physical, intellectual or emotional aspect about them that renders them socially awkward. From what I can discern in reading many articles about Phoebe Prince, she hardly fit the profile of the classic bullying victim.

From my personal observations of group dynamics, one of the girls who tormented Miss Prince had been the "leader,” a girl who was probably somewhat brighter than the rest who picked Miss Prince as her target and then egged on the others. She is self-centered, egotistical and outwardly assertive and is adept at cajoling others into following her and bending them to her will. One of the others is her closest confederate who provides the metaphorical muscle for her malicious schemes. This kid (and in this case it might well have been one of the indicted boys) lacks her intelligence but has physical prowess.

He or she allows himself or herself to be manipulated by the leader as a means of finding purpose in life because he or she lacks self-esteem and looks to the leader for social validation. Whereas the leader “talks big,” he or she is a coward who could never muster the courage to act alone. In a symbiotic relationship, the leader also yearns for validation as a result of his or her inward insecurity; thus the need for followers. The followers mistake the leader’s swagger and bravado for self-assuredness.

In this tragic case, the leader had been personally jealous of Miss Prince as a potential rival. She recognized her attributes: her physical attractiveness; her Irish accent and natural charm; a certain sense of the exotic that would serve as a natural magnet to attract the sort of boys the leader considered to be her personal preserve. Worse yet, she was a threat to the leader’s social position amongst other girls.

Thus, Miss Prince was by no means the faceless victim of opportunity that so characterizes traditional victims of school bullying. The animus of the leader was deeply personal. The animus persisted outside school hours and Miss Prince had been omnipresent in the thoughts of at least the group’s leader. Unlike the case of true school bullying, the torment inflicted upon Miss Prince had a motive beyond itself. That motive was jealousy. Miss Prince was very much a “real person.” She was a potential rival that had to be cut down. She was not the Claudius of Robert Graves’s depiction, the “fool” who so many enjoyed tormenting but never took seriously enough to seriously harm him. Rather, she was one of Claudius’s myriad imperial relatives done in by jealous, fearful and paranoid rivals.

That the tormenters in this instance had also been classic school bullies (at one time or another) is something I don’t know as a fact, though I feel it is a rather safe assumption. I presume the name “the mean girls” was not a reference to their community service and charitable endeavors. Donald Schneider —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:03, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Addendum: DarthRad; I just came across this quote form a recent news article regarding this case:

"In her case, 'it wasn't even bullying,' says Darby O'Brien, a high school parent who speaks for the Prince family, which has declined to talk with reporters. 'It was persecution.'" [USA Today, by Rick Hampson]

A criminal stalking and harassment complaint should have been filed by Miss Prince and her family as well as restraining orders. In my opinion, this was a criminal matter from day one and not a school bullying issue. Donald Schneider —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:51, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

I see what you are saying, but I disagree with it. When I saw Prince's photo strewn all across the media, I too was thinking, "she doesn't look like a target - she looks like one of the typical popular girls here in this very Irish Massachusetts. How could she be so depressed and tormented that she killed herself?"
The more I have read about it this incident though, the more I have come to understand what has been going on. This is clearly a bullying case when people torment you and call you a whore, are jealous of you, and want to put you down because they view you as a threat. Sure, Pointdexter in "the Revenge of the Nerds" or McLovin' in "Superbad" might be most people's idea of a "Leave it to Beaver" bullying target, as you put it. And maybe you are nostalgic for that retro style of bullying portrayed on TV and the movies. Hey, we all sympathize with the well-intentioned underdog, which is why this construct of the target that Hollywood constantly spews at us is so popular. But that just isn't the whole picture or how reality is. Clearly the reality is that bullying can sometimes be deadly and is permanently harmful.
The motivations behind bullying are more diverse than that. A kid who stutters might be a target. A member of a racial minority, a kid who talks funny, a meek kid, a kid with a disability, especially one that is not yet recognized by the school or community at large could be reasons. And, as is frequently the case with bullying among girls, true jealousy and hatred may be the root cause. No matter what the cause, if people are calling you names, doing things to socially isolate you, ridicule you, or physically assault you, then it's all bullying. The cause doesn't matter, and many of these causes are rather petty and juvenile in the eyes of the adult.
Call me a bully, but I do think you have a minority opinion on this matter, one that may be an insult to many victims out there just because Prince was "attractive" and "charming." Just because a girl seems like she should be popular doesn't mean that she's not a victim of bullying. Perhaps her situation wasn't taken seriously enough because other people thought that she just doesn't fit the stereotype of a victim and overlooked the problems of a girl who seems to have privilege and promise. And the scary part is, South Hadley High School seems to be the equivalent of "The School of Everyman" - it is typical, and like Columbine, the scariest things happen at some of the most typical schools. Midtempo-abg (talk) 23:25, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

--Midtempo, I would hardly call you a bully for merely disagreeing with me; nor would I call myself insulting for labeling Miss Prince’s ordeal a criminal matter rather than a school bullying one.HistoryBuff14 (talk) 23:45, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

It is both a case of bullying and a criminal case. Though the accused have, as of this date, not been convicted of a criminal act. The term "bullying" sounds like a benign playground matter, just meanies being mean. My company has an "anti-bullying" policy, and states are using that term in their legislation. Although just what is "bullying" is a bit of a foggy notion, I think we all know bullying when we observe it.
Clearly the term has been used in formal contexts, such as in legislation, in journalism and the media, not just in the playground and school. I think people understand that calling something bullying does not mean it's NOT criminal - they aren't mutually exclusive. Therefore calling this a bullying case is accurate, and is widely reported as such in the media. We really can't call it criminal yet because they accused have not been convicted yet, though they are on trial. We have to remain neutral on Wikipedia and report what has actually been said. Midtempo-abg (talk) 22:16, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

The "Irish slut" insult, demographics, and school officials[edit]

Because people from abroad, and from Ireland in particular, are watching this case, a lot of thoughts ran through my mind as to what other factors might have been involved. So I decided to research the issue of whether ethnicity, or anti-immigrant sentiment may have played a role in this case. I looked up the demographics for South Hadley High School and for Hampshire County, Massachusetts (a separate category for South Hadley is not available):

The site says the students of South Hadley High School are 88% White non-Hispanic (compared with 71% for the entire state of Massachusetts), and only 12% qualify for reduced price lunch programs (compared to 29% statewide). So this school population has an above average income and a dominant population of white kids.

The school demographics are reflected in the general population of Hampshire County - 88.1% are white non-Hispanic.

Some 20.7% of Hampshire County residents have a graduate degree, 21.7% have a bachelor's degree. Those are outstanding numbers, and indicate a very well educated community.

The most interesting aspect is the Ancestry - some 21.8% of the people of Hampshire County claim Irish ancestry, the single largest ethnic group by far. This is followed by French, Polish, English and German.

One thing that does stand out a little bit are the somewhat low numbers of foreign born in Hampshire County - only 7.5% are foreign born. The numbers born outside of Massachusetts - 28.7% - are also a bit on the low side.

Nothing conclusive here in the numbers, but the "Irish slut" epithet seems odd, considering that over one fifth of the locals are of Irish origin. Most strange of all is how such a well educated community of parents allowed the school system to fail so badly with the bullying at school. It seems to all be the fault of blindly incompetent school administrators. Every interview with Superintendent Gus Sayer and the Principal Daniel Smith just seems to bring out more denials. Here are a couple more incendiary videos from NECN:

Here's one more item I found at the site - student/parent reviews of South Hadley High School!

A couple of chillingly prescient negative reviews of the school are posted, with one written April 23, 2008, well before Phoebe Prince arrived at the school:

I have to agree with the negative reviews. SHHS has a terrible principal with no leadership qualities. The school is dull and according to my student, the kids get away with murder. I have two children in the middle school now and refuse to send them to the high school.

So there you have it. The smoking gun. The school principal was known to run a loose ship. Yep, the site is terrific. Parents would do well to check it out before sending their kids to any school (and no, I don't have any financial interest in that website - I've just had occasion to use it several times).

DarthRad (talk) 10:10, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

References for Criminal Case and Legal information on Juvenile Court[edit]

Some tidying up here.

1. Removed footnote to the "Criminal Case" heading. This is redundant. The Criminal Case section has all the references listed, including the two that contain the video of DA Scheibel's news conference, which is where most of the information appeared.

2. Removed three added comments relating to juvenile court law which are not correct. The original statement in the article about police obtaining the complaints in Juvenile Court is nearly verbatim from what DA Scheibel said at the news conference, which is why I wrote it that way. Massachusetts law does indeed allow police to start the complaint process in Juvenile Court, they do not have to go through the DA. Here are a couple of references on Massachusetts law in regards to Juvenile Court and punishment of juveniles (under 17 by MA law) in adult court:

Also, juveniles in Massachusetts can indeed be convicted in adult court if their crimes are severe enough. Here's a reference that lists the states and the differences in their laws regarding juveniles:

3. Some unconfirmed details have crept into this article which have not actually appeared in published accounts. So have added the dread "Citation needed" tag. The person adding most of these details is, who appears to have contacts in the local area, judging by the personal nature of the details inputted.

4. Deleted the "Irish slut" comment. This may have appeared in the published media, I can't remember. It was part of that whole redundant paragraph about the charges on Sean Mulveyhill. If you have a citation for this comment, you can put it back in as a separate comment.

5. Latest media report from the Associated Press is that there were only six teens involved in all. So although three of them were indicted by the grand jury, and MA law does allow them to be tried in adult court, it appears that they will be going through Juvenile Court instead.

DarthRad (talk) 01:09, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from, 12 April 2010[edit]

{{editsemiprotected}} Someone has inserted the phrase "She was stupid and dumb for committing suicide lol". This comment should be removed. (talk) 00:55, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

ISeems to have been removed.  fetchcomms 01:08, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from Rehab111, 13 April 2010[edit]

{{editsemiprotected}} Please add ' A web site has also been established in Phoebe's name to promote anti-bullying nationwide titled 'Phoebes Law'

Rehab111 (talk) 01:15, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm sure there are tons of websites, please provide a reliable source telling that this one is notable enough to be included.  fetchcomms 03:17, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Edit request 14 April 2010[edit]

{{editsemiprotected}} Please add Phoebe's memorial at Find A Grave. Here is the link. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:42, 14 April 2010

As with the section just above, you need to establish notability. We cannot simply advertise memorials. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:31, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Irish Immigrant?[edit]

Given that she was an American citizen by birth, categorizing her as a "Irish Immigrant" is inaccurate. Even though she never resided in the U.S.A. prior to moving here, this would be a repatriation, not immigration.

Are there any thoughts as to why this should not be changed? ( (talk) 04:06, 15 April 2010 (UTC))

  • Here's the reference for a lot of the personal details about Phoebe's parents:
  • Phoebe Prince would appear to qualify for dual citizenship status, U.S. and British, based on this article. As for her ethnic roots, although her father is identified as British in the article, he could have been of Irish or part Irish origin, as England has huge numbers of people of Irish or mixed Irish origin. "Prince" is an Anglo-Saxon surname, i.e., primarily English rather than Irish. However, as her American mother's maiden surname appears to be O'Brien, it would be safe to guess that her mother is of Irish or at least part Irish ethnicity. Plus Phoebe more or less grew up in Ireland. So identifying Phoebe Prince as Irish would be appropriate. DarthRad (talk) 17:53, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
It's a tough call. Inferring from her mother's last name tends towards being SYNTH. I'm not sure it really adds anything of value to the page, since it already makes clear how she moved from Ireland to the U.S. It's probably best to just omit further mention of it. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:38, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Note that citizenship is not necessarily relevant. I have New Zealand citizenship by birth as my mother is a New Zealander/Kiwi but as I grew up in Malaysia I still considered myself a immigrant New Zealand (which doesn't mean I don't consider myself a Kiwi). I don't think this is particularly uncommon. In terms of this particular issue, unless it's relevant and well sourced, I don't think it's necessary to label her. Just specify the pertinent details (born wherever, moved to Ireland whenever, moved to US whenever). Nil Einne (talk) 07:40, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

DarthRad, we were not addressing if Prince was Irish or not, we were discussing whether she could be factually described as being an "Irish immigrant" to America. Even if she identified as "Irish", which is a reasonable assumption, immigration is the process of a non-citizen moving to the USA to live. Given that prince was an American citizen to start with, she could not be factually described as an "immigrant" to the USA. ( (talk) 04:50, 6 May 2011 (UTC))

Names of the Accused[edit]

There is no reason why relevant information about the accused should not be cited with their names. There is no legal decree shielding them and their names have been cited repeatedly in the media. I saw a blurb in the history section o the edits where someone actually states "There's no point in naming". This is not Wikipedia policy and by all rights the names of the accused should be cited when relevant to the article. This is not a personal blog. CNN has been naming them since last may! ( (talk) 01:11, 24 September 2010 (UTC))

The relevant policy is WP:Biographies of living persons#Presumption in favor of privacy. This is a borderline case because, as you note, the individuals have been widely named in the news media. However, some of them are/were minors, and none has, at this time, been convicted of anything in a court of law. Strictly speaking, all of the news accounts of what they did are based upon the prosecutor's version in court cases that are just getting underway. Of course Wikipedia is not a blog, but it's not a newspaper either. I think it would be best to wait until there is a court verdict or similar finding. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:35, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

I've read the policy and mentioning their names, when relevant is not only permissible, it should be in regards to this case. Your interpretation of policy seems to be based solely on your personal feelings as to how the issue should be dealt with as evidenced in comments such as "I don't see any points in mentioning minors and such". Their is no gag order, their names are already known publicly in regard to this case. Their is no clear reason not to name the suspects.

(Opinion) Quote:"I think it would be best to wait until there is a court verdict or similar finding" Great, well that is your personal opinion not Wikipedia policy. The proper way to have dealt with this is to build consensus on the issue, but looking at your past edits on this subject, it seems as if you have decided that you are the sole authority here, If I am mistaken about, I apologize.

To say Austin Renard has been charged with a crime is factual, and not a biased comment. I agree we should tread very cautiously, but the mention of their names, when relevant should not be an issue here. I am reverting your edit simply because their is no compelling reason it should not be cited.

Instead of bring other editors into this in order to develop a group consensus, you just unilaterally went ahead and reverted edits you decide are not aligned with your personal opinion of the case.

I would welcome a private discussion of this matter. ( (talk) 03:57, 25 September 2010 (UTC))

You seem to be taking this more personally than is really necessary. You don't know what my personal opinions are. I made a good faith interpretation of BLP, and applied it. You, in fact, have been reverting me. As I said quite clearly, it's a borderline case. I'm going to leave your edit and see what other editors do. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:50, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I've asked for additional opinions at Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:01, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
I saw the post at the BLP, I have removed the name, we don't usually name minors in such situations, if there is a conviction that will be a different situation. This article was a similar situation and there was a lot of discussion, the names are still not in that article 2009 Richmond High School gang rape. One of the issues from editors at that article was that local editors who all new the names wanted to add them to the article as they were common knowledge in the local areas, this wiki article serves a worldwide audience and so the issues of privacy remain. Off2riorob (talk) 18:34, 25 September 2010 (UTC)
In addition, it's generally advisable to only list names if they should stay in the article forever. Without a conviction, it's not clear why people 20 years from now should be finding the person's name in our wikipedia article, and it's not clear to me even 'local' readers will be aware of their names. Also private discussions on policy matters surrounding articles is usually not necessary. It's far better if the community participates. Exceptions would be for example advising a new user on policy matters. (Private discussion of private things like user conduct would usually be advisable.) Nil Einne (talk) 07:30, 26 September 2010 (UTC)


The cat cyberbullying was removed. However sources say: "Phoebe Prince Death: Nine Teens Charged with Cyberbullying ... Mar 29, 2010 ... Nine teens were charged with bullying and cyberbullying a 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, who hanged herself in January." So I am restoring it. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 19:17, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you are referring to the second reference, from Newsvine. I went back and looked through the sources, and that seems to be the only one that emphasizes the "cyber" part of it, and it really doesn't look like an RS to me. The sources that go into the details of the charges all seem to treat the Facebook posting as something relatively minor, in contrast to the very major in-person bullying. It seems to me to be UNDUE to treat this as being primarily cyber-bullying. I'm going to change it back, but of course I'm still open to discussion. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:36, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
P.S.: Also, we usually don't put pages in both a category and its parent category, so if it were to stay in the "cyber" one, we should delete it from the other, and that would worsen the concern that I just described. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:40, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

This is article about event, not person[edit]

This is an article about an event [1] NOT a person. The lead sentance should not be structured as a biographical entry, but rather in a manner that represents the event. The victims birthdate is irrel to the lead of the article and probably to the article as a whole. Active Banana (bananaphone 19:41, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I agree that it's about the event, not the person, but the first sentence is not the entire lead, much less the entire page. It make sense to explain who she was. If one reads the first paragraph, it is clearly focused on the suicide and its aftermath. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:46, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
P.S.: I'm open to rewriting the lead paragraph so that the first sentence is about the suicide and who she was comes after, but it's not obvious to me how to do that. Either the information about who she was simply gets deleted, which I think destroys the context, or the narrative flow has to double back on itself in a very long-winded way. Suggestions? --Tryptofish (talk) 19:50, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
What is important is that the reaction to her suicide has brough political / social impact in focussing on the reason why she committed suicide - bullying by other young people. Active Banana (bananaphone 19:54, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
True, but what are you proposing? Leaving out the context? --Tryptofish (talk) 20:00, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I think the lead sentence should attempt to encapsulate as much as possible "what is notable" about this topic. From the initial sentence in the next few paragraphs we build the context for the short version of the who what where why when; that she was bullied in part because she is from Ireland would/could be included, but her particular birth date plays no part that I have seen and so there is no need to try to work that in anywhere in the lead. Active Banana (bananaphone 20:06, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
OK, how about deleting the dates from the lead, and including them in the Background section (birth at the beginning, death at the end)? --Tryptofish (talk) 20:11, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
I am still not convinced that her birthdate is relavant to this article, other than it placing her as a teenager at the time of her death, but I wont oppose moving it to somewhere other than the lead. Active Banana (bananaphone 20:14, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Understood. I took a swing at that, so please see what you think. I'm trying to think of a way of doing more along these lines, but I haven't come up with anything more that works. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:18, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

draft options[edit]

  • When the teenaged Phoebe Nora Mary Prince committed suicide in Jan. 2010 after being the victim of bullying by her peers, a state task force was set up and the recommendations resulted the Massachusetts legislation passing state anti-bullying legisltation that went into effect May 3, 2010.
I'm not convinced that that would be an improvement. Can you break it up into more than one sentence? --Tryptofish (talk) 20:53, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
  • The suicide of Phoebe Nora Mary Prince in January 2010, lead to the the criminal prosecution of 9 other teenagers for charges including rape and harassment as well as to stricter anti-bullying legisltation being passed by Massachusetts state legislature.


United kingdom is not a nationality. Off2riorob (talk) 19:27, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Uh-oh, I had a feeling that I was stepping into something when I made that edit! But I look at it this way: UK is not an ethnicity, but one can be a UK national, or a US national, or so forth. It's what it would say on one's passport. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:50, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

U.K. is not an ethnicity, but the the descendants of Anglos, Saxons, Normans and Celts who resided in what is now Great Britain are a distinct ethnic group. The child of Indian immigrants to the UK is likely not of British ethnicity, but I am, even though I was not born there. ( (talk) 04:56, 6 May 2011 (UTC))

Restricting Edits[edit]

I have just removed what is at least the second defacement of this page. Perhaps the page should be locked or restricted from anonymous editing. Frank Mottley (talk) 16:11, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Possible sources[edit]

It looks like Emily Bazelon's series on this event (see here is up for a Michael Kelly (editor) award. The series might be a good source for this article. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:18, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Names of the bullies[edit]

An editor added the names of the six teenagers, and was reverted. In the past, our practice at this page has been not to include those names on the basis that they are/were minors. However, by this point, all of them have pleaded guilty and the court case is, I think, concluded. So I think it worth asking: should we now report the six names? --Tryptofish (talk) 20:34, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

No. — Jeraphine Gryphon (talk) 20:48, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Why not? I'm just asking. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:13, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
My inclination is also "no". I don't think that adding the names of the people involved helps the reader understand what happened. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:15, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

categories issue[edit]

This has been explained here Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2013_January_8#Category:Victims_of_school_bullying. However there is a complexity here because it is the redirect Phoebe Prince that goes to Category:Victims of school bullying not Suicide of Phoebe Prince.--Penbat (talk) 22:13, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for that pointer. I see that the discussion there included some mention about how suicide might be a special case. When I referred in my edit summary to previous discussion, I was talking about this, where there was a very lengthy discussion amongst editors specifically involved in suicide-related pages, touched off by some similar category deletions. I fully understand the point about not placing a page about an event (in this case, the suicide), in a category about persons (in this case, the victims), and what you say about the redirect from the person name. In fact, if the category you had deleted had been Category:Victims of school bullying, I would not have made an issue of it. However, in this case, the category was Category:School bullying (the parent category of the victims category). Any way you slice it, the content of this page is intimately about school bullying. It's an article about the suicide, not the person, and repeated school bullying was, according to the sources, directly involved in the suicide. That was the consensus in the discussion to which I just pointed you. Removing that category is wrong. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:50, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
does Category:Victims of school bullying not apply here then unlike all the other suiciders ? Category:Victims of school bullying is a subcategory for Category:School bullying (which was itself prevously swamped with the suicide victims). Anyway personally i think it would make life easier if this article was called "Phoebe Prince". It is unlikely anybody would search for "Suicide of Phoebe Prince" in preference to "Phoebe Prince". "Phoebe Prince" is identified as a suicide victim by being in the bullying template and various categories anyway. Obviously it is only Phoebe Princes suicide and the background behind this which is notable anyway so other unrelated aspects of her life are not notable.--Penbat (talk) 13:00, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I think there are two issues there. The first is whether to rename the page to be about the person. There has been a longstanding consensus on all of these pages that WP:BLP1E, in effect, extends to pages concerning these deceased persons, in that these persons are notable (as Wikipedia defines it) only for their suicides, not for anything else in their lives. The pages are about the event, more than they are about the person. Therefore, I am certain that there would be very strong opposition to renaming the page.
Once one answers that issue, then the second issue – placement in the parent category about school bullying versus placement in the subcategory about the victims – answers itself. It seems illogical to categorize an event, in this case the suicide, as a "victim". This page is about the suicide and the events leading up to it, as well as the reactions after it. The events leading up to it include school bullying, prominently and undeniably. Thus, school bullying is a significant part of the subject matter of the page. And thus, the category of school bullying is applicable. Conversely, I don't see how anything would be harmed by applying the category. It's not clear to me how a category can be "swamped", unless it is with pages that do not properly belong in it. This single page will not swamp anything, and it properly belongs in the category. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:53, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Suicide of Kelly Yeomans which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 15:29, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

About "intimate" relationships[edit]

I'm commenting about these edits: [2], [3], and [4]. Please see also User talk:Tryptofish#Re Phoebe Prince. The question is whether or not to characterize Prince's relationships with the boyfriends of some of the girls involved in the bullying as "intimate".

I oppose the use of the word "intimate". For me, this is not about WP:NOTCENSORED. Rather, it is about the spirit of WP:BDP, particularly what it says about the feelings of family members and others left behind after the deaths of persons who died of suicide and the like. It seems to me to be disrespectful to point out that word. And I don't think that leaving the word out risks confusing our readers. Although the message on my talk refers to confusion in this talk page about the reasons for the bullying, I don't see any such confusion here in the last four years. The wording says that the bullying was "reportedly because of disputes with two girls over her brief relationships with their boyfriends". I think that makes it very clear that we are talking about jealousies about the boyfriends, not because of ethnicity or because of any aspect of Prince's popularity outside of the boyfriend relationships. What's the confusion that results from leaving "intimate" out? It's obviously about male-female relationships, so all we're talking about is the extent of the intimacy. And I'm not sure that the available sourcing really let's us know the exact details. A reasonable reader will understand, even without the word "intimate", that we are talking about something more than a conversation in the hall of the school. I think that it serves no good purpose to specify that it was "intimate", and it clearly goes against Wikipedia's policies against doing unnecessary harm to people's reputations.

What do other editors think? --Tryptofish (talk) 23:33, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

The documentary was very clear about the exact details. A "brief relationship" could mean anything and implying that the two girlfriends may have bullied Prince over something as minor as flirting with their boyfriends is possibly a BLP violation as there is a huge difference between flirting or a few dates (which is implied by this article) and a more intimate encounter. I can't see how it can do much harm to Prince's reputation and WP:BRP applies to contentious or questionable material, not to a relationship that was quite likely the sole reason for the bullying. Wayne (talk) 18:07, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
OK, I think that we are dealing with something that is "in the eye of the beholder": I see it as contentious for the reasons that I stated, and you do not. So let's see what other editors think. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:14, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Contentious ▸ adjective: involving or likely to cause controversy. In what way is the word controversial? We know it's true and the bullying would probably not have happened if it had been merely a "brief relationship." Wayne (talk) 02:52, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
That's not what I was referring to. And I'm sure you can find the dictionary definition of "let's see what other editors think". --Tryptofish (talk) 00:58, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
It appears that there aren't many other editors watching this discussion, and I very much would like to get more opinions, so I'm going to start an RfC. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:33, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

RfC about "intimate"[edit]

Should the word "intimate" be included in the sentence, "Having recently moved to the U.S. from Ireland, Prince was taunted and bullied for several weeks by at least two groups of students at South Hadley High School, reportedly because of disputes with two girls in December 2009 over separate brief intimate relationships with two senior high-school football players."? The sentence is the first sentence of the "Bullying incidents and suicide" section of the page. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:33, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

In the talk section directly above, #About "intimate" relationships, two editors disagree about including that word. I oppose using it, and the other editor supports it. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:33, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Note: Recent edits have removed the phrase in question. If those edits continue to have consensus, then this RfC becomes moot. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:17, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
To me, having that word in there provides a little more information for the reader to tell how close they were. As Wayne said above, just having "brief" could mean anything. United States Man (talk) 01:18, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
I see there were statutory rape charges; are these the same "boyfriends" referred to in the sentence in question? Were the relationships with the young men consensual? If there were statutory rape charges, the charge is that she was incapable of meaningful consent. If there were rape charges, I hesitate to use the words "intimate" or "relationship" and suggest it be reworded entirely. - CorbieV 03:24, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
'Intimate', in the UK at least, is often used as a euphemism for 'sexual'. If it clearly was a sexual relationship, with good sources, them perhaps we should just say that. Martin Hogbin (talk) 13:33, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
The fact that there was sexual intercourse is adequately and reliably sourced, and yes, the incidences of intercourse that were the basis for the statutory rape charges were the same occurrences that we are considering here. The intercourse was consensual, insofar as that goes, and that is apparently why the other girls were motivated to engage in bullying. However, the "statutory" part of it refers to a concept in US law that, because Snow was legally a minor, she was unable to give genuine consent; thus, it was both consensual (in the common sense understanding of the word) and rape (as a legal matter) at the same time. (I live in the US, and I think some of my feeling that our pointing out the "intimacy" is indelicate with respect to how we write about Prince comes from the same cultural mores that treat women who have been raped, in any legal sense, as being entitled to privacy. In the US, news organizations almost never report the names of women who have been raped.) And yes, "intimate" here is a euphemism for "sexual", so perhaps that change of words is something we might want to consider. Something that occurs to me as a result of this question is that, although the argument for using the word "intimate" was based on the premise that readers would otherwise be confused and might think that the relationships were some variety of non-sexual interaction, the fact that the page goes on to address the rape charges really puts that possibility to rest. No one gets charged with statutory rape for going to the movies! --Tryptofish (talk) 21:29, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Based on what I just noted, I have made this edit: [5], which I then self-reverted, pending further discussion here. Here is my rationale. The proposed language would remove any ambiguity over the fact that the relationships were sexual, no confusion possible. It also makes clear that, in fact, the relationships that gave rise to the bullying were the same thing that gave rise to the rape charges, since it has now become apparent that this was unclear before. It dispenses with euphemisms. At the same time, it addresses my concern that the existing language seems to me to put the "blame" on Prince, by framing what happened as being the basis of criminal charges against the two boys instead. Perhaps this revision would be a way of satisfying all of the concerns that have come up in this discussion. What do other editors think? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:46, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
I have two problems with your suggested edit, the grammar is clunky and the wording implies the boys forced themselves on her. The fact that the page goes on to address the statutory rape charges is irrelevant, in a similar dispute Jimbo Wales stated that a reader shouldn't have to wait till the end of an article to get relevant information on the subject which the previous text has left ambiguous. Wayne (talk) 02:51, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I actually agree with you about the clunkiness, but that can be fixed easily by splitting it into two sentences. About your second point, it can be fixed by saying that the charges were because of her age. Beyond that, I don't see what you are talking about. My argument that the statutory rape charges should be explained there means that readers do not have to read on to find out about it. The existing version, which you seem to be defending, is the version that forces the reader to read on to later sections. I'll make a second "demonstration edit" now, to illustrate what I mean. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:06, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Here's the edit: [6]. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:18, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Wayne, I think the edits you made today, taking a different approach than what I proposed, are a helpful step in providing context, so thank you for that. At the same time, we now have the phrase "separate brief intimate relationships", and that strikes me as adjective overload. And in fact, I think the added context makes the sexual nature of it less crucial. There is also an asymmetry with "one of the boys was already in a relationship" in the next sentence, where the intimacy is left unsaid. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:21, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've been thinking about the issue some more, and I just made another trial edit that I would like to propose: [7]. I was thinking about how, on the one hand, "separate brief intimate relationships" seems to me like way too many qualifying adjectives, and on the other hand, I think that Martin is right that "intimate relationship" is just a euphemism for "sex". It occurred to me that just saying "sex" did not seem to me to be as disrespectful as "intimate relationship", because it is much more forthright and factual, whereas " intimate relationship" implies in Wikipedia's voice that there is some need for euphemism. I then modified the following sentence to also get rid of "relationship", and I think that this version would satisfy my concerns, if other editors agree with it. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:46, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

You are trying to say sex by using intimate right? Why not say sex then?Serialjoepsycho (talk) 03:12, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, and the more I think about it, the more I think it's the way to go. If other editors agree, maybe we could go with this: [8]? --Tryptofish (talk) 22:17, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
It's gotten a bit quiet up here, so I'm going to wait a day or two longer, and if nobody raises any objections, I'll go ahead and make that edit. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:00, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Um, no offense, folks, but the article cited to sustain the claim of a sexual or intimate relationship makes no mention of any such thing. So at the very least you need to come up with a citation that confirms this. Abhayakara (talk) 01:41, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for noticing that, and certainly no offense on my part! For now, I deleted "intimate" from the page, and I'm now planning to leave it that way until someone else fixes it. Given the statutory rape charges, I think there can be little doubt about it, and I'm pretty sure that this is simply an artifact of intervening edits that must have moved the most appropriate sources elsewhere on the page. But I also think it is reasonable to invoke WP:BURDEN on a matter such as this. During this discussion, I refrained from reverting the editor who added the word (strictly speaking, he made the original edit, I reverted it, and then he reverted me, and I left it at that), but I think that the burden is now on anyone who wants the sentence to say either "sexual" or "intimate" to provide adequate sourcing. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:33, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
  • It looks to me now like the most recent edits to the page, that completely removed the phrase in question, have consensus, so I'm ending the RfC. The RfC can always be reopened if it turns out the issue resurfaces. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:20, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Article not encyclopedic[edit]

This article reads to me more like a newspaper article than one in an encyclopedia. It is not our job to research details of what happened or to try to determine the truth. We must also bear in mind that what is written here may affect the lives of those involved. I may try to produce a version that is more in line with what should be in an encyclopedia and present it here for discussion. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:30, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Having read through the article my opinion now is that it should be drastically reduced or even deleted. I cannot see its encyclopedic value. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:08, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Seriously? Delete an article with over 2 million results on Google, worldwide media interest, a TV documentary, a mention by President Obama at the White House anti-bullying summit and the case resulting in changes to the laws of over 40 states? How many articles would WP end up with if the bar for notability was set that high? I welcome your input but I see very little in the article that could be deleted and believe it is encyclopedic. It clearly avoids the detail (such as naming the accused) and sensationalism of newspaper reporting and the article doesn't even mention her mental problems prior to the bullying such as her attempted suicide when one of the accused declined to go out with her. Wayne (talk) 18:19, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes. WP is not a medium to support world wide media interest or TV documentaries. It is a permanent encyclopedia, and anything we write here remains visible to the whole world for years. There may be people who are trying to move on from these tragic events and to have unenecyclopedic details on public display will not help them. Some people connected with the event may, rightly or wrongly, consider some of what we say inaccurate (even if well sourced). Repeating these perceived or real inaccuracies may cause real distress to some of those involved. We should be very careful what we write so that we at WP do not engage in any form of cyberbullying.
I am not insisting that the article is deleted but the problem I found was that when I looked to remove the material that I considered unencyclopedic there was not much left. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:02, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
There is no inherent objection to removing conjecture, OR, synthesis, even if little is left. There is an objection to removing material that is cited in RS where that material is germane to the description of the incident. The challenge with this incident is that it was a newsworthy incident, and thus removal and retention of items requires discussion and consensus prior to action. Fiddle Faddle 19:53, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Fiddle Faddle. I'll take another look at the page with respect to unencyclopedic passages. One thing that occurs to me is where it talks about early reports saying that nine young people were charged, but it turned out to be only six, for rather trivial reasons. Maybe that is no longer needed. There is also a misplaced paragraph just after that, which I will fix now, because it won't be controversial. But let's agree that we are nowhere near to AfD territory here. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:26, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
To be scrupulously fair, there is no objection to an AfD here, and any editor is entitled to make the proposal. I doubt it would cause the article to be deleted. I do think it would be a distraction, though. It is preferable to enhance the article, even by ripping it to shreds and rebuilding it, than simply to trash it. I believe this and many other suicides to have sufficient inherent notability (as demonstrated by references in reliable sources) to remain here. Now we are at some remove from the incident there is a good editorial argument to be made for culling the less useful material. I'm grateful for Martin Hogbin's words on this. Fiddle Faddle 21:45, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────How about doing this: [9]? I think it would improve the criminal case section. (There is one source citation that would need to be fixed, but that's easy.) It would do two things. First, it would take the sentence about court information being published online by CNN, and move it from a standalone paragraph, into another paragraph. Second, it would eliminate a paragraph that said that some early news reports said nine students were charged, when in fact it turned out to be only six. That error in early news reports no longer seems encyclopedic to me. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:55, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

This is the type of edit that will help. We need to move the article to the established facts today, not the putative facts as the incident was current. Additionally a simple précis cannot hurt.
I'd like a few more voices involved, I think. Consensus can't be claimed yet. Face-smile.svg Fiddle Faddle 22:22, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the last test edit was helpful and considering the support of Fiddle have replaced it. Wayne (talk) 05:04, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

I am glad to see that some editors here are beginning to understand my point. As the article is now I really do think it should be deleted. The article seems mainly to rake over the personal lives of vulnerable young people. Phrases like, 'her brief intimate relationships', which are tabloid journalistic language for 'had sex with', combined with the reference to charges of statutory rape create pictures in the minds if the readers that might not even represent the truth at all. In any case, what does all this all tell us, that the personal lives of teenagers are difficult and complex, that older boys will take advantage of willing young girls? There is nothing notable or encyclopedic about that.

With one sad exception, all those involved in this tragedy are still alive and trying to rebuild their lives after a series of traumatic events. Seeing the whole thing replayed in lurid detail in WP will not help them doing this; knowing that what happened has raised awareness of the pressure that young people come under just might do. The only person to come out of this whole sad story with any credit is, in my opinion, Phoebe's father who, even after the death of his own daughter, fought to prevent further victimisation and bullying of young people.

Wayne defends the article above by referring to, '... a TV documentary, a mention by President Obama at the White House anti-bullying summit and the case resulting in changes to the laws of over 40 states'. Fine. If these tragic events have had some positive outcomes let us be clearer as to exactly what they are and base the article around the important advances in protecting young people that have been made as a result of them. I am not referring to draconian laws that try to control people's personal lives but to the realisation that much more could be done to prevent these unfortunate cases.

If we cannot make the article about the important changes that have been brought about by Phoebe's death then the article should be deleted. WP is not a newspaper. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:44, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Martin, please let me say that, in the context of the RfC above, I think that you are correct that the phrase about "brief intimate relationships" is tabloid-like. I realize that you are saying that "had sex with" is more to the point, but I also think that the word "intimate" is really what makes it sound like a tabloid. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:33, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I do not support deletion at this stage, though I support your right to propose it.
This article and other, similar articles, may well evolve to be a single article documenting the rash of Bullycides that may well still be taking place. There is an argument for a single article encompassing all of them. The apparent trend itself is significant, though individual events may fade over time. This does not diminish their importance to those involved, naturally.
One significant outcome of all the events has been a heightened awareness of the issues surrounding peer pressure and bullying. It seems to me that a factual article that pulls together but does not synthesise original research from the various articles is worthy pf serious consideration now that time has elapsed and the wounds to the public psyche are less fresh. Fiddle Faddle 08:56, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I am not proposing deletion I am proposing making the article into one suitable for an encyclopdia rather than a newspaper. Could you ever imagine something like this being included in Chambers or Britannica? I appreciate that WP does not have the same limitations as a paper encyclopedia but we still strive to maintain the same encyclopedic principles. If there is no lasting legacy to this subject then it should not be here; if there is that that is what the article should be about.
Rapid evolution into a more general and encyclopedic article would be and idea that I would support. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:31, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Careful and consensus based evolution is supportable. There is no deadline, so rapidity is not required. Consensus must be formed first. At present your voice is alone, and that is ok. To make this change it needs consensus based support. I think it is worth your while seeking that support, and it is clear there are several articles that this could affect. I;d appreciate being notified of the venue you choose to seek support for the wider issue, and I will give the matter serious thought. Fiddle Faddle 10:30, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
By the way, I am wholly indifferent to easing the pain for those who survived the young lady or who assisted in her demise. We are not a good cause here. They must find their own salvation and concern about their part in the events unless the article here is libellous, is irrelevant to us. Fiddle Faddle 09:04, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree that we are not a good cause but we do have a clear responsibility not to make things worse, and that is a real possibility. WP has immense authority and power, including the power to turn speculation and idle chatter into the truth. What we write here could cause further real harm. I might that, from a purely WP point of view, the first time this happens there will be a massive backlash against WP, resulting in calls for regulation and control, just as has happened with Facebook and other social media sites. We must regulate ourselves properly or someone else will. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:35, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
That is a whole different topic, regulation. Our responsibility in this article extends to ensuring that facts are reported when backed by references in reliable sources. Regulation is a discussion for another venue. Fiddle Faddle 10:30, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
We are not even reporting facts here but using journalistic language to suggest things that may or may not have happened, but in any case, we are under no obligation to list all facts that exist in the world in WP; that is not our purpose. We are not a newspaper but an encyclopedia and our job is to report facts of long term value.
Leaving regulation to someone else rather than taking a proper encyclopedic attitude to our writing is not a good idea. If something bad were to happen as a result of what is written in WP it would cause incalculable damage to the project. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:58, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
All I am suggesting is that we ensure that this article is as correct as it can be, and discuss regulation et all in the appropriate forum. This talk page can never be that forum. We are not in fundamental disagreement over this. We just differ over the discussion venue. Fiddle Faddle 11:30, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've had discussions similar to this one with Martin at other pages, and (although I have a feeling that there won't be a consensus that fully satisfies him) I'd like to suggest that we start looking into specific things to change. We've already tightened up some of the "criminal case" section. Martin, could you please list some specific places where you think that the language or tone is unencyclopedic? --Tryptofish (talk) 23:38, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your interest Tryptofish. It is not just tone but content. I have started a page where I am editing this article as I think it should be just for reference. So far I have only done the lead. Your comments, or anyone else's are welcome, either here or on my associated talk page. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:10, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
I've watchlisted it. Given that I'm mostly satisfied with what we have here, I'll wait until you are farther along, and then I'll be happy to discuss how the version you will have made could be merged into the page here. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:30, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Do you see my point though? Sadly, suicides caused by bullying at school are quite common, so what is it that makes this one notable? It is not the details of the bullying or the victim of the bullying but, as I understand it, the fact that this case attracted widespread media and political interest. If that is why this article exists that is what it should mainly cover. Some background of the events is of course required but this need only be brief.
Covering the events in too much detail in a permanent encyclopedia that is widely quoted may cause distress to those involved. Pheobe's suicide was not caused by the actions of others but by words. Words spoken about her by other people. Words are very powerful and we must be very careful that what we write here cannot harm any one else involved in this incident. Yes, we must tell the truth, and WP is not censored, but details of the actual events are not the reason for this article and need not be in here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:22, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Honest answer: no, I don't really see it. I understand, but I disagree. This is an encyclopedia, but it isn't, for example, a traditional print one. We include material based on WP:Notability and related guidelines. I think that there is room to make this page less about the person and more about the event, and the reactions to the event. I think that WP:BLP sets some limits about how we present the survivors, including the students who were charged with crimes. As for causing distress to surviving family members, yes, I care about that a lot, and that's why I started the RfC above. (We don't report any painful facts on this page that weren't already reported widely in other sources.) But I feel like you are arguing for an approach to this page (and others we have discussed elsewhere) that just isn't the Wikipedia consensus. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:35, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for continuing to listen to me. I accept that currently there is no consensus for my approach, that is why I have not edited the article, but I do hope to persuade people.
I have two concerns, one for the young people and adults involved in this tragedy and the other for the future of WP.
I will try to give some specific examples of what I am getting at. We currently have, 'On March 29, 2010, Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel announced at a press conference[29] that two male and four female teenagers from South Hadley High School were indicted as adults on felony charges by a Hampshire County grand jury. Charges ranged from statutory rape for the two male teenagers involved, to violation of civil rights, criminal harassment, disturbance of a school assembly, and stalking. One of the males charged with statutory rape was not involved in the bullying'.
What are our readers to make of, 'statutory rape for the two male teenagers involved', and 'One of the males charged with statutory rape was not involved in the bullying'? Readers might suppose that Pheobe was involved in the statutory rape and that this was a major part of the bullying and therefore that her suicide was directly linked to the actions of these two teenagers (I presume that they must have been 19 as they are referred to as adults). In fact we have no evidence for this and I have no idea if it is true or not. The problem is that stating these true and well-sourced facts in the way that we do presents these two teenagers almost as the killers of Phoebe. There is mention in the article that, 'six accused were subjected to bullying and death threats'. By propagating this innuendo (based on the reporting of true facts) we are as guilty as any of those directly involved of harassment and bullying.
Now suppose that, as a result of what is written here, there was another incident of assault, self-harm, or even suicide, or maybe a death threat was actually carried out. Unlikely, we hope, but what would that do for WP? There would be immense pressure for external regulation and the uncensored freedom we now enjoy to tell the truth regardless of whether people like it or not could be lost forever (yes we are telling the truth here, but in a way that propagates unsubstantiated rumour). If we want freedom we must accept responsibility. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:45, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Obviously, no one here actually wants any of that to happen, but the question arises of how to properly deal with that editorially. It seems to me that what you ask about the second male charged with statutory rape is answered by the sentences we discuss in the RfC above: there were two incidences of sex that apparently gave rise to the bullying, and one of the males was the boyfriend of one of the girls who started the bullying while the other male was not. I don't think the page gives anyone the impression that the suicide was because of the sex; it was because of the bullying. That strikes me as an issue of clarity of writing. We have sourcing that, following the charges, there was bullying of the persons who were charged. It isn't innuendo, so far as I can see. Now as for triggering someone who reads our page to do something immoral or unlawful, I think all we can do is report truthfully, per reliable sources. We have pages about wars, but we don't remove material because someone somewhere in the world might read about a past war and decide to seek revenge for how the war ended. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:28, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I am somewhat concerned that it is suggested that Wikipedia be somehow sanitised lest someone should harm another or themselves. I fear the nanny state and I fear a nanny encyclopaedia, though I appreciate the rationale behind the suggestions. I believe we must confine ourselves to the creation of excellence in articles. I feel it is important to say that that topic is for a different forum. This talk page os for the discussion of the article and improvements that might be made to it.

The other discussion is an excellent one, and one I am happy to join in with, but not on this talk page. Fiddle Faddle 23:03, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Those are very good points, thanks. Let me suggest that, here, we focus only on things like the part of the page about X needs to be revised, because it is misleading/innuendo/unclear/inflammatory. Just specific problems to address on the page. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:26, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I see what you mean. The most important thing here is freedom of the encyclopedia press. So long as we write anything that can be found in a newspaper somewhere facts that are confirmed by reliable sources, we need not worry that our juxtaposition of irrelevant detail important information may cause harm to some other people and threaten the freedom of Wikipedia.
I have made my point but as I am obviously not convincing anyone I will leave you all for now. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:21, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
I've left you a note on your talk page. I believe this to be the incorrect venue for this discussion, that is all. This page is to discuss within current policies (etc) improvements to the article, and it needs to restrict itself to that. Raise the topic in the correct forum and I will be more than happy to discuss where I agree and where I do not. Fiddle Faddle 23:05, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Where would you say is the correct forum? Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:54, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Since you are looking to change policy, something that should always be encouraged and discussed fully, I suggest WP:VPP would be a useful starting point. Article talk pages cannot do that job at all. Fiddle Faddle 11:37, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

BLP issues[edit]

I have been discussing the relevance of WP:BLP to this article on my talk page with Tim.

The policy says says, 'Biographies of living persons ("BLP"s) must be written conservatively and with regard for the subject's privacy. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid: it is not Wikipedia's job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives; the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment. This policy applies to any living person mentioned in a BLP, whether or not that person is the subject of the article, and to material about living persons in other articles and on other pages, including talk pages.[3] The burden of evidence for any edit rests with the person who adds or restores material'.

It seems absolutely clear to me that this WP policy restricts what we should say on this page about the subject. To make clear what I mean I cave copied sections of the policy to subject headings where they can be discussed.

This policy applies to...material about living persons in other articles

This makes clear that the policy does apply to this article.

The possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment

The article is about a suicide and mentions death threats having been made to people involved. There clearly is the possibility of provoking similar actions by those involved and others by things we say here, even if they are true.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid
it is not Wikipedia's job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives

That has been exactly my point. The article focusses of the actions of the young people involved and the specific crimes which which they were charged. It currently reads like a tabloid newspaper.

When I proposed deletion I was told that this was, ' article with over 2 million results on Google, worldwide media interest, a TV documentary, a mention by President Obama at the White House anti-bullying summit and the case resulting in changes to the laws of over 40 states'.

That sounds good but, when I read the article there is little about any of that. No mention at all of President Obama or a summit. Why was there a summit, why did Obama mention it? What were the results of all this? Were they considered good results? In general, what lasting effect on the world did this incident have? That is what an encyclopedia should be about.

I propose to remove material from this article that I believe contravene WP policy in that they do create the possibility of harm to living subjects. If this leaves the article as little more than a stub, I suggest that editors expand it in an encyclopedic manner as suggested above, supported by reliable sources of course

The burden of evidence for any edit rests with the person who adds or restores material

Anyone who reverts my changes please bear this in mind. We need evidence not just of the truth of the statement but of its encyclopedic purpose. Remember, 'The possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment'.


Please discuss my deletions here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:26, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

I have started by removing a link to a YouTube video, which I think is entirely inappropriate for an article of this nature. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:32, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

I have to admit, a bit sheepishly, that my initial reaction upon seeing the deletions was something like "what the f...?" – but, on looking more closely, I am actually very happy with your edits. Thanks! Your edit solves the problems that made me open the RfC above, which might as well be closed unless someone comes along and disagrees with you/us. In fact, I then pruned related material a little more, as you can see. And I fully agree with you about the YouTube video. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:58, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
I do intend to go further but I am doing it bit by bit. Because of the BLP aspect and the possibility of causing harm I suggest that editors discuss reverting my deletions first. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Martin Hogbin (talkcontribs) 17:21, March 13, 2014‎
Just to be clear, I didn't revert you. I deleted more than you did. To some extent, it goes both ways, in that you might want to discuss before making your edits; no one owns a monopoly on understanding BLP. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:26, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, there was no intended accusation. My comments referred to my intended future deletion. It is not that I claim any monopoly just that, in the case of BLPs, it is best to delete first and ask questions afterwards.
Since you mention it though, you added the italicised bit to, 'Having recently moved to the U.S. from Ireland, Prince was taunted and bullied for several weeks by at least two groups of students at South Hadley High School, following disputes with two girls in December 2009. What is the purpose of that detail. All it does is potentially identify two people. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:04, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
It feels to me like we need to give our readers some understanding of what set off the bullying, since it didn't spring out of nowhere. Put another way, I like that you took out the material about the "intimate relationship" and so forth, but there is no BLP issue with noting that some people had a dispute. I don't think it's particularly important for us to go into what the "dispute" was about, but without noting that it occurred, the sentence as you shortened it seems to imply, misleadingly, that the bullying was because Prince had recently arrived from Ireland. I also added back the year when it happened. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:50, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
I am not going to fight over that but there seems to be too much pointless detail here. I guess it is mainly about encyclopedic tone and style although there is a BLP element. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:29, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Also noting that, while I continue to agree with your edits so far, they are not all matters of BLP. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:01, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
They are all intended to be. Which ones do you think are not? Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:04, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
[10], for example. It's a good edit, but it's common sense, as opposed to BLP. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:50, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
The original was, 'Her father,... chose to remain ..., rather than emigrate'. As I read this, there is a strong implication in that wording that the father considered it too much trouble to emigrate and thus neglected Pheobe and in that way contributed to her suicide. I am not sure if that was intentional, if so, it cannot be justified, if it was accidental it should be removed anyway. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:21, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Wow, I would never have made the jump to concluding that she had committed suicide even partly because he did not come with them to the U.S.! That's a huge leap, and I don't think it was ever in the previous text. To me, it just wasn't that important to give details about his staying behind, which is why I supported your edits. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:30, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
You don't think that a father choosing not to stay with his teenage daughter because he did not want to emigrate would upset her? What do you mean by, 'I don't think it was ever in the previous text'? Martin Hogbin (talk) 20:18, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
I support the edits you have made so far. Let's move on. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:31, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Tryptofish, thanks for you support but you are still missing my main point. All references to groups or individuals are potentially harmful to those involved; they know who they are. This may seem rather minor but we have to balance that against the encyclopedic value of adding the information and currently that is zero. That is why I would like to remove it all. This is not a newspaper and raking over the details of a personal tragedy to satisfy our readers' curiosity is not our purpose.

If, on the other hand, the fact that there were two groups of girls was considered a significant issue in this case and thought to be relevant to bullying in general and the way that bullying is dealt with we have something encyclopedic that might justify inclusion. So far we have nothing like this. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:47, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

The lead[edit]

Can I just say that I think the lead is excellent now and shows us the way forwards. Well done whoever edited it to this state. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:08, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

It's been that way for quite a long time. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:53, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Once we state that there were "felony charges", we are obligated to specify what those charges were[edit]

Why? Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:19, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

We are talking about this edit that I made: [11]. (Do we really need to quibble over every edit? Sigh.) Well, for starters, this is what the passage reads like with that part removed: "...that two male and four female teenagers from South Hadley High School were indicted as adults on felony charges by a Hampshire County grand jury. One of the males charged with statutory rape was not involved in the bullying." It doesn't even make sense that way. We suddenly refer to one of the males charged with statutory rape, without ever explaining whether or not there was another male charged, or what any of the charges were. The charges are encyclopedic, and do not violate BLP as far as I can see. I'm not going to argue over whether my use of the word "obligated" in the edit summary is the best word. But I will say that, before my edit, the text would leave readers scratching their heads. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:06, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I forgot to remove, "One of the males charged with statutory rape was not involved in the bullying."
I think this material does violate BLP. I discussed this on my talk page, here is what I said:
Why do we have this article at all? This article shows that there are typically 700 female suicides per year in the 15-24 age range in the USA. What is so special about this one that it should have its own WP article?
When I asked this question, one of the replies I got said it was was, ' article with over 2 million results on Google, worldwide media interest, a TV documentary, a mention by President Obama at the White House anti-bullying summit and the case resulting in changes to the laws of over 40 states'. That sounds good but, when I read the article there is little about any of that. No mention at all of President Obama or a summit. Why was there a summit, why did Obama mention it? What were the results of all this? Were they considered good results? In general, what lasting effect on the world did this incident have? That is what an encyclopedia should be about.
Instead we have what looks more like a (slightly watered-down) media article. The mention of statutory rape charges does nothing but stimulate idle speculation. Did the young men take advantage of vulnerable young women driving one of them to suicide, did the girls involved throw themselves at innocent and inexperienced young men in an attempt to gain high status boyfriends, or is it nothing more than the norm in that area. As in most places, under age sex is not that uncommon. Why were there prosecutions? Was it the justifiable punishment of miscreants? Was it a knee jerk reaction? Was it to try to cover the guilt of those who had failed to protect the young people involved. Those are the encyclopedic issues.
These thoughts are left rattling round in the heads of our readers, to the potential detriment to WP and possibly causing harm to those involved. If we do not have reliable sources giving some answers to those encyclopedic issues we really should not be mentioning the subject at all. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:51, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to hear from other editors about this, but my own answer is that the perspective you bring in that argument simply is not a general consensus about how Wikipedia works. I have no objection to you finding some additional secondary sources that analyze the charges, and revising the page to reflect those sources. And I certainly would welcome more sourced material about how the suicide impacted noteworthy commentary, such as by President Obama, or about anything else that would be an enduring effect. But it does not violate BLP, unless there are sources that state that the charges were bad in some way, in which case we should either cite those sources or consider removing as WP:UNDUE content that those sources contradict. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:00, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
There clearly is a BLP issue, The possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment. Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:06, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
For that reason, I would strongly oppose naming the charged persons, but we don't do that. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:09, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
We do not need to, they know who they are. Also there will be many people who think they know who they are. So far there has been one suicide, several assaults, death threats, and felony charges amongst a group of young people, some of whom may still be minors. Words are very powerful, the written word particularly so and the permanent, enduring, authoritative written word of Wikipedia even more so. We have a very real possibility of causing serious harm by what we write here.
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid we have absolutely no obligation to state all the facts about news items.
You mentioned input from others. I will post something on the BLP noticeboard. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:20, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't think this is a BLP issue. The idea that unknown people might possibly be harmed in some nebulous, speculative, as-yet-unknown way doesn't fit in with the consensus around what it means to do harm from a BLP perspective. That said, I think there is room in another venue to discuss how the phrase "do no harm" can be better defined and quantified - but until or unless that definition is changed, basing what is or isn't included in an article must be based on current wikipedia BLP policy.

I agree that it isn't necessary to name the perpetrators in the article, not just because it could do them harm, but because their names aren't really WP:NOTABLE. They aren't the focus of the event; her suicide and the legislation it caused are the WP:EFFECTS that make this event notable (and provide a reason for keeping the article).

There is an argument to be made that this article should be merged into a broader article on bullycide and the resultant legislation. But that's a discussion for another day. Ca2james (talk) 00:32, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

I cannot see any need for discussion on what 'do no harm' means; it is self explanatory. There is also no need for a change in WP policy, it is quite clearly stated above in bold.
Regarding the effects that that make this incident notable, I agree that that should be what the article should be about but we have very little on them. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:49, 18 March 2014 (UTC)
The BLPN thread has now been archived, and I'm not seeing much evidence that Martin has really convinced other editors of his position. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:52, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
It is not so much that I have not convinced anyone but that there is no one interested. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:31, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that's true as well, but I think these things go hand in hand. At the BLPN discussion, Kevin Rutherford commented, and here in this talk, Ca2james seems to have come here from the BLPN link. Both of them, like me, do not see a remaining BLP issue, whereas you are the only editor who does see such an issue. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:37, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
I guess nothing is going to change here then. It saddens me though that there is so little regard for possible harm that we might cause in the real world. Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:03, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

The picture[edit]

I have often had major qualms about the apparent overwhelming desire to feature a picture of the dead person when the article is about the incident of their death. The picture cannot be, for example, fair use (if copyright) because it is not being discussed, nor does it illustrate the topic of the article, though it shows the person who killed themselves. I feel it has no place, either in the article, or on Wikipedia at all. WP:NOTMEMORIAL applies. Fiddle Faddle 15:01, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

I agree. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:24, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm torn about this issue, and I'd like to ask your indulgence to let me think about this a little more, before deleting the image, even though, at the moment, I'm at a loss to provide a rationale other than WP:ILIKEIT. I seem to be engaging in a lot of sheepishness on this talk page today, but I guess there are worse alternatives! My gut feeling is that the image improves the page, even though I need to sort through why I think that is the case.
(By the way, about "fair use", that is not the criterion used by Wikipedia (see WP:ITSFAIRUSE). An image does not have to be discussed as an image (as Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, discussed at WP:HISTORIC). As far as file usage goes, it becomes a matter of the extent to which the image enhances readers' understanding of the text, as discussed at WP:DECORATIVE. I wrote most of that "WP:" material that I just linked, so it's kind of a pet interest of mine.) --Tryptofish (talk) 17:13, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with understanding the text. We have to ask ourselves what the reader wants from the article. A printed encyclopedia has limited space whereas WP is not so restrained. The average reader wants detail without having to read the book so Wikipedia has a responsibility to maximize the information available without getting as wordy as a book. The majority of pictures on WP are not the subject of their articles, I've seen some that simply illustrate a single sentence in a long article that barely has any relationship with the subject. Pictures are there because of reader interest, so compelling reasons need to be given for exclusion. Wayne (talk) 09:35, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
The reverse is true. WIkipedia does not need to be decorated with pictures. A picture must have a purpose greater than being present because one likes it. The onus is upon us always to justify the inclusion of something, not its exclusion. Fiddle Faddle 11:15, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm still getting my thoughts together, but I'm going to try to give a thoughtful response when I'm ready. In the mean time, I'd like to ask editors who would prefer to delete the image two questions, to help clarify the issues here:
  1. Do you also object to the infobox at the top of the page, in which the image is currently located?
  2. If the consensus here ends up being to delete the image, do you intend to raise the same issue at other "Suicide of" pages?
Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:17, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I have no particular intentions here. It seemed to me simply that this article was in process of potential radical rewriting, and thus it was an opportunity to visit my qualms about a picture here. I have not looked in any detail at the infobox and offer no opinion, save that it should be about the incident rather than the person because the article is about the incident, not about the person. I would like to see a broader discussion about "these articles" (this is not the venue) with regard to considering a radical edit to merge those articles into a macro article about this 'class' of suicide, now that their newsworthy status has ended. Fiddle Faddle 15:22, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for being patient awaiting my reply, and I've been thinking hard about this question. It's very clear to me that this is an issue where there are very good arguments on both sides, and so I recognize that there are solid reasons to disagree with me. I still would like to retain the image, and I want to suggest that any discussion about deleting such images should be conducted more centrally, as a discussion about all "Suicide of..." pages.
A lot of the case against such images is both because of the principle that these pages are about the event, and not about the person, and also because of WP:NOTMEMORIAL. That, in turn, leads to why I asked about the infobox. The box is made with Template:Infobox person, and as such, it's every bit as much about those same two aspects of the case against the image. In other words, if we decide to remove the image, we need to consider removing the infobox as well, and that makes this a more extensive change to the page than what was originally proposed. So I think that's a good reason for a more comprehensive discussion, if there is going to be such a discussion at all.
In thinking about the picture itself, I spent some time looking at the pages in Category:Murders, by way of comparison. A sizeable number of those pages do not include an image of the murder victim, but a significant number of other pages in the category do. Again, it's something where there seem to be arguments on both sides, and no broad consensus. Here, I'm not arguing that the image provides something central to what the page is about, that cannot be understood at all without the image. But that's not the criterion at WP:NFCC#8. Instead, it's a subjective one of whether "its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the article topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding". "Significantly" is in the eye of the beholder, but what I would argue here is that the image instantly makes it clear to the reader Phoebe Prince's age around the time of her suicide. Her age is discussed in the text, and is a significant aspect of the attention that was given to the suicide. Obviously, one can find out her age by reading the text, but the image makes it clear the instant one sees the image.
I fully recognize that what I just said is subjective, but I would argue that disagreeing with what I said is also subjective. There are good, intelligent arguments on either side, and they are all subjective. So, that's why I would argue that a broader discussion than the one here should be required in order to decide to remove the image. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:24, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
I would welcome a broader discussion. I appreciated when I raised it that thoughts would come down broadly equal. My thinking is that we are balancing WP:ILIKEIT against WP:NOTMEMORIAL. Fiddle Faddle 22:55, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
With regard to the infobox, I am not sure that the template title is important, just the content. Of course one could create a special one for suicides if value is seen in doing so. Fiddle Faddle 22:57, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, I think there's a bit more to what I said than just "I like it", just as there is more to what you are saying than "I don't like it". If you look at how the infobox is formatted and filled out, it focuses more on the person than on the event. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:11, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Whether I like or dislike something notwithstanding, I want to try to expand on what I hope was a substantive point that I made, and to do so specifically in the context of suicide pages. Please look at the images at Suicide of Ryan Halligan, Suicide of Tyler Clementi, and at this page. In all three cases, the text of the page devotes some significant attention to the fact that the deaths all took place at a young age. Specifically, the ages were 13 for Halligan, 15 for Prince, and 18 for Clementi. In text, those differences in age may not seem that large. But look at the photos. The differences are very obvious, in terms of age. In the spirit of WP:DECORATIVE and WP:ANYIMAGE, these images are conveying something that very much helps the reader to understand what the text is talking about. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:23, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I agree with Fiddle and Martin. This is (or should be) a page about the event of her death and its aftermath, not her, so a picture of her isn't needed; moreover, since a picture memorializes her, WP:NOTMEMORIAL applies. I also think that the pictures on the other suicide pages linked by Tryptofish should be removed for the same reasons. Ca2james (talk) 16:46, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

I agree. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:48, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
If my arguments don't have consensus, then so be it. But let me point out that, although I linked to two other pages, there are more such pages as well, so it isn't just these three. And I would still argue that, to be consistent, we should evaluate what is or is not included in the infoboxes, not just the pictures. I would still ask that we make any such decisions in a uniform manner, to apply to all "Suicide of..." pages, and consequently, there needs to be some sort of centralized discussion, because we cannot decide about other pages using only a discussion here. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:14, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
I just went back and looked again at WP:NOTMEMORIAL, and here is what it actually says: "Subjects of encyclopedia articles must satisfy Wikipedia's notability requirements. Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or others who do not meet such requirements." (The rest is about deceased editors here.) Clearly, this page is not about a friend, relative, or acquaintance of the editors at this page. I suppose it's reasonable to say that Prince is an "other" who does not meet the notability requirements per WP:BIO1E, and that's a good reason to make the page about the event of the suicide rather than about the person, but I see that as being more an issue of what we say, than about whether there is an image. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:29, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
My qualms are based upon the overwhelming desire many editors have to decorate every article with an illustration. I recognise, Tryptofish, that you are not one such. I feel that, by adding a picture, free, fair use, public domain, with copyright release (ie any picture) of the person who died we do create either a memorial, or some form of prurient interest. If the picture is beautiful we wonder why this beautiful person killed themselves. If the picture is ugly or less than flattering, we are less surprised, perhaps. I need to be clear that I am making no comment on the young lady in this article nor her picture. I know I am putting my own emotions into my comments about the pictures, and it's appropriate that I do, because I am an ordinary reader as well as an editor. Without the picture I concentrate upon the text. I see the age in the article, and I make no subjective assumptions about, neither am I attracted to nor repelled by the person because of their picture. I argue, therefore, that the article is the more neutral without a picture.
I am also concerned, from a human perspective, about those whose lives were touched by the dead person. This may be their favourite or most hated picture. It may be one they would congregate around or it may be an awful reminder of the events of the death. It could thus be a positive or negative memorial. I wish it not to be a memorial at all.
Finally I am concerned about those who are glad the person is dead, or who drive them to death and are now not glad. I believe a picture affects them as well, and not in a good way. We do have a responsibility to society as well as to the facts of the article.
I feel it is our duty to create excellent articles and to make a careful judgement over whether a picture is a picture too far. If we judge that it is then it needs to go.
If I pass briefly to infoboxen, that is a different and soluble issue. I think, though cannot remember, that it was better handled in one or more of the more recent articles. Fiddle Faddle 19:48, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
I was about to post a list of the other pages, but I'll respond to what you said here, first. Earlier, you compared what I said to WP:ILIKEIT. Please consider how your first paragraph might relate to WP:IDONTLIKEIT. That's subjective. But as for policy, your first three paragraphs seem to me to relate very much to WP:BLP, and actually resemble the arguments that Martin has been making with respect to the students who were charged following the suicide. You are making an argument that BLP means that we have to consider how our readers will react to what we include in our articles, in this case, how they might react emotionally to a photograph. It seems to me that this is a misinterpretation of BLP, creating a novel policy interpretation that does not have general consensus. Do we eliminate WP:NOTCENSORED for fear of how content might affect some readers? Why limit it to images? Should we delete this page because, despite passing the notability guidelines, the text might affect some readers in various ways? Where does this lead? --Tryptofish (talk) 20:04, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
I can see how you might interpret it that way, but it is not what I mean. Not censoring something is congruent with handling it with sensitivity. Fiddle Faddle 20:08, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Lots of people would say that sensitivity requires censorship. How would you handle that? You can't just say that you are being sensitive. It has to be something that works as a guideline or policy. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:22, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
I think it has to be a matter of good editing. Unfortunately we have the alleged wisdom of crowds, and that seems to insist upon policies. If as a single writer you were briefed to reveal all the facts but do so with sensitivity then you could, and would with ease. You would not need a policy, for you would know, as you do already, what is right and what is not. Fiddle Faddle 20:27, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
I think I'm a good editor, and I think you are one too, and yet we disagree about this. And I don't see how one can argue that the photo should be removed on the grounds of how it might affect some readers, without also arguing that the entire page should be deleted for the same reason. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:32, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
I think we need to let others shine a light on this as well as both of us. I don't think we are so far apart as it appears, you and I. Fiddle Faddle 20:36, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
And of course, I agree entirely with that! Please let me ask anyone who wants to comment to think about whether or not my suggested edit, [12], might resolve those concerns about how the image comes across on the page. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:02, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Infobox, instead[edit]

Please let me suggest an alternative way of approaching the issue, one that makes better sense to me. I just made this edit: [13], which I then self-reverted. Please take a serious look at it. The edit completely removed the infobox at the top of the page, and moved the photo of Prince (slightly smaller) down to the background section. I would argue that doing so completely removes any issue of NOTMEMORIAL. Look critically at what we have in the infobox: her name as a large title, her birth, her death, the cause of death, her nationality, her ethnicity, and her occupation. Of those, only her death and the cause of death are really about the subject of the page, whereas there is little justification for all the rest, and we don't need a box for the death and its cause. In my opinion, it is much better to do that, instead of the other way around. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:41, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

I like your concept, though feel that the picture still needs to be removed. Fiddle Faddle 19:50, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
OK, we may be getting closer to having something to work with. I think what you say goes to what you just said above, about how readers might react to such images. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:53, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Take a look at this infobox treatment. This is what I meant by 'one of the more recent articles. Fiddle Faddle 20:02, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I was just looking at other pages like this, and I agree with you that, for an infobox, that's a much better way to go. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:06, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Fiddle's suggested pared-down infobox works for me. I'd also support Tryptofish's edit that removes the infobox entirely as long as the photo is also deleted. Ca2james (talk) 00:07, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
You said above that you favored deleting the photo in part because the page is not about the person, and in part because of WP:NOTMEMORIAL. My edit moves the image to the section that is about the person, and I think it's a stretch to say that it is still memorial-like down there. As I pointed out above, what NOTMEMORIAL actually says is: "Subjects of encyclopedia articles must satisfy Wikipedia's notability requirements. Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or others who do not meet such requirements." (The rest is about deceased editors here.) Having a photo of the person in the section where the text is about that person does not seem to me to violate that at all. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:19, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I agree with Fiddle that a photo memorializes her whether that's your intention or not, and that this subject needs to be handled with some sensitivity. Moreover, the article is (or should be) focused on the legislative events that occurred after her suicide, and a photo isn't needed to convey that information. Ca2james (talk) 00:37, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

I feel like editors are making broad statements without really backing them up, and I feel the need, consequently, to try to pin this down. The page name is not, for example, Legislation prompted by the suicide of Phoebe Prince, nor should it be, per the source material. I agree that there should be some emphasis on the societal impact of the suicide, rather than on the biographical details of the person. But it's impossible to explain that properly without having a background section. I can understand how the photo in the infobox can be seen as inappropriately memorializing – but how, exactly, does the photo, when moved to the background section, memorialize? Does every photo of a deceased person on every page of Wikipedia serve to memorialize? How is having a photo of her in the background section insensitive? Per WP:ANYIMAGE, the issue is not whether it is possible to understand the page without the image. I understand objections to an image at the top of the page, in an infobox all about biographical details like where she was born, her nationality and ethnicity, and the fact that she was a student – but I'm asking editors to think seriously about whether those objections lead logically to objections to any image at all. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:17, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Please try this "thought experiment": look, for example, at the lead section of the page on Nelson Mandela. There's a photo of him there. He's a recently deceased person. I don't think anyone would say that the photo is either insensitive or a memorial in that case. Unlike Prince, Mandela is notable as an individual in the specific ways that Wikipedia defines notability, so that justifies the extensive infobox in which his photo is placed, and that's a difference from this page here. But if we are saying that images are intrinsically bad in some way, what makes the Prince photo – if we were to move it down to the background section – bad in a way that is not applicable to Mandela? --Tryptofish (talk) 01:25, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
I think that the argument that an image doesn't belong anywhere in the article is logical and it stands. The article on Nelson Mandela, a Nobel-prize winner and international statesman, whose picture was in the article long before he died, is not comparable with this article. Ca2james (talk) 01:58, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Given that you think that it is logical, why is the image of Prince insensitive while the image of Mandela is not insensitive? Why is the image of Prince a memorial while the image of Mandela not a memorial? If the image of Mandela had been changed to a new image after he died, would the new image be just as objectionable as the Prince image? Does the fact that Prince was not someone of international status mean that an image of her is insensitive? Should Wikipedia only have images of people who are of Mandela's stature? Where do we draw the line between persons like Mandela and persons like Prince? --Tryptofish (talk) 16:31, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Related pages[edit]

As noted just above, Suicide of Audrie Pott is a related page that treats the infobox differently, and perhaps better. Here is a list of related pages that have images of the persons who committed suicide, and which could potentially be affected by any discussion we would want to have:

--Tryptofish (talk) 20:16, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

In what way are these suitable for an encyclopedia? Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:45, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
I suspect you already understand this, but my reason for making the list was to point out that decisions about images and infoboxes could affect all these pages, rather than to initiate the question that you asked. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:52, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Bringing in the other pages obscures the issue being discussed on this Talk page, which is the suicide of Phoebe Prince event. The broader discussion on could go on BLPN, Project Death, or Project Suicide, but it is beyond the scope of this page. Ca2james (talk) 00:02, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
If you were saying that in response to Martin's point, I agree with you. Again, my reason for bringing them in here is that, if we want to discuss removing the photo, etc., it seems to me that we should logically remove the photos (or whatever) at all of these pages – and that's a discussion that should not be made here, in isolation. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:08, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

I have started a discussion at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Death#Suicide articles on this subject. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:54, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

UNDUE focus on charges, focus should be on the convictions/pleas[edit]

This article heavily focuses on what the suspects were charged with, rather than what they actually plead guilty too. All sorts of people are wrongly charged with crimes they didn't comity and it's completely unfair (not to mention a bit of a legal issue for Wikipedia) for there to be so much focus on things that have never been proved in court. Furthermore, the lack of information not eh actual crimes that those involved plead guilty too also weakens the article and leaves the reader uninformed.--Shakehandsman (talk) 17:58, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

I've seen the two edits you made to the lead, and I agree with you about them. There has been previous talk about what to say, and what not to say, about the charges, so you might want to look back at that. Myself, I would argue that what is in the main text is reasonable in terms of fairness to those charged, particularly because those persons are never identified on the page. I don't see either a WP:BLP violation or a legal issue. The source material is all published information, and remains published whether Wikipedia reports the information (minus names etc.) or not. I think you make a good point about adding more specific information about what they actually pleaded to, and I would support edits updating that section of the page accordingly. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:25, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
The possible legal issues arise by focusing on the charges rather than the outcome. This left/leaves the reader with the impression that serious crimes had been committed by those involved, in reality the actual outcome was guilty pleas to much lesser charges. It's fine to mention and document the charges, but they real should not really be in the lede nor should there be too much focus on them, and this issue is made significantly worse by the failure to properly document the actual outcomes. Anyway, many thanks for your insights and support.--Shakehandsman (talk) 00:04, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

POV of a passerby[edit]

My first encounter with this story was through this entry and have say it was quite uninformative and shallow -to the extent that it was necessary to switch over to google due to the page's 'shadiness'.

Only after reading several other sources did I understand that the 'shadiness' I felt was justified as the wiki page has been sanitized to such an extent that not only context but facts were removed or hidden.

As it looks now this is the story of a foreign student getting bullied for being new at school. Reality however seems to indicate that this is the story of an already troubled 15 year old being ostracized and 'slut shamed' by her peers for what they considered anti social behavior, rather than a vanilla case of bullying which supposedly centers primarily around power and domination.

You guys should consider writing this up to deliver facts with context to the reader and leave the spin/censorship/revisionism out of it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:19, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

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