Talk:William Bulger

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When editing a page, please use the Show Preview button so that we don't have twenty edits spaced a minute apart. Irish Hermit 03:32, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Basic information sources[edit]

To get more information on Bulger, here are some basic sources:

Noroton 00:34, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

The first link goes to a webpage of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Public Library, not the University of Massachusetts. See amended "External links" section. Previously, this link was mis-identified. "Bpl"=Boston Public Library. --NYScholar 01:19, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

About positive and negative information[edit]

Has anyone else noticed this article is, um, absurdly positive? Apparently everything he ever did was awesome, except concealing the whereabouts of his brother. And his rise to power is, of course, not due in any way to his connection with organized crime. On the other hand, he's on the board of Citizen's Bank! Funny, I always wondered how they got those ads on the fastlanes.

  • I've tried to add a bit more information. I think the article has both positive and negative info in it now.Noroton 02:45, 17 July 2006 (UTC)


Does Billy Bulger have one deformed arm?

If not, who am I confusing him with? As Pres. of UMass, I think? Joan 01:05, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Answer: You're thinking of John Silber, president of Boston University. Birth defect: right arm ends at elbow.
Dubhdara 05:29, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

3rd brother[edit]

I may have been remiss in my reading of the paragraph that included the sentence

His younger brother John "Jackie" Bulger was convicted in April 2003 of perjuring himself to two grand juries regarding testimony he had given about contact he'd had with Whitey.

when i came away believing Billy was convicted. But i was set up for it; that sentence has no legitimate role in the paragraph as it stood. The third brother only belongs in the same paragraph when his connection to the resignation and/or investigation is clearly stated.
--Jerzyt 07:02, 18 March 2006 (UTC)


I apologize but this article is a hatchet job and ask others for their opinion. William Bulger was a State Representative for nine years, State Senator for 26 years of which he was Senate President for 18 years. He has received 21 honorary degrees and served as President of the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees, this nation's first public library. Does Osama bin Laden's name really need to be in the first paragraph? Half the article is about his brother who already has his own. This should be reduced to one section of William Bulger's article. I just ask that others judge for themselves. --Costoa 02:57, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I made most of those changes after seeing an version of the article that (to use inflammatory language equivalent to "hatchet job") could be fairly described as a "white wash." The scandal was enormous -- involving a compromised FBI agent now in prison and a gangster who appeared to be given (by the local FBI) a pass to kill. That the gangster was still connected to his powerful brother, even to the extent of the brother pushing for a high law-enforcement job for one of the gangster's accomplices, makes it utterly enormous. I left his two top jobs at the top of the article, but raised the mention of the scandal as high as it was worth -- very, very high. I would have put it at the very top if Billy Bulger were charged, arrested and convicted. I don't know all the details or Billy Bulger's exact connection, but the information I inserted is extremely important to understanding Bulger's overall legacy. I kept ALL the positive information in the article, but holding an elective or appointive office, even to the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees doesn't top trying to get a criminal appointed to a top law-enforcement position -- no how, no way.Noroton 03:38, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, I guess others might want to take the above comment in consideration of the article. William Bulger as far as I know has never been indicted. Thank you for your input. --Costoa 04:38, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Along with his 2 brothers, William had 3 sisters. One sister was murdered at a young age and the other 2 were Patricia and Madeline. (talk) 04:12, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

New section: Criticism of[edit]

While normally not used for most biographies I propose that a section be added called "Criticism of William Bulger" where criticism of him may be layed out in an orderly fashion. Personally I would be surprised if this section was smaller than all other sections combined. --Costoa 00:17, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure that would work, since what's disputed here is not whether he's right or wrong or good or bad (at least that's not disputed on the surface, but I guess my suspicions aren't shared by everyone) but whether certain (so far undisputed) information is worthy of the emphasis given it. I'm going to remove the reference to Osama bin Ladin in the article, since it's not really necessary and some may think it's overly inflammatory. At some point it might be worth adding some of the quotes on this discussion page to the article.Noroton 06:01, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
As I think about it, I like your idea more, Costoa. If, instead of saying "criticism of" we had a section saying "Suspicion of" or "Questions raised about the behavior of" I think it would work. I might put some of the quotes I used on this discussion page into that article. Thanks for the suggestion.Noroton 06:09, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Added cleanup tag[edit]

This article needs many more citations to Wikipedia:Reliable Sources; it appears to be overly dependent on a single source, and thus needs corroboration from additional biographical sources. Otherwise, it does not seem to follow WP:NPOV. Most of the statements presented as facts in the article remain unsourced, or lacking citations; see WP:Cite. --NYScholar 01:23, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

With all the apparent controversy over Billy Bulger, no one has ever disputed whether he served in the State Senate for X years, or that he joined Boston College faculty at year Y. If there is an actual dispute, then go ahead and put 'citation needed'. Otherwise, basic biographical facts like Nixon ran for President in 1960 need not be tagged. Huangdi 07:00, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
See also W:Reliable citations: People come to Wikipedia to learn about subjects about which and whom they may not know anything. There is no "general knowledge" about figures like this subject. Some people have no "general knowledge" about him. That is why they come to an encyclopedia. Sources to "facts" are needed so that they can be verified by other Wikipedia editors and other users of the encyclopedia. Don't remove a cleanup tag until the article is cleaned up. Bulger is hardly as well known a subject as President Nixon. But even statements about Nixon which might have diction or emphasis that is questionable need sourcing through reliable citations and the use of multiple sources and citations when the "facts" are disputed or at all controversial. See WP:NPOV. There is still too much dependence on the same sources and also the appearance of advertising for the source by Carr. Wikipedia has a policy of not allowing advertisements (no ads allowed) in articles. Some of the citations verge on ads due to the links going to ads for books. If one uses sources in writing an article, one needs to cite the source used (in notes and references list). See also WP:NOR. Without the citations, the information in the article is not verifiable. --NYScholar 23:59, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Subject of article (name): William M. Bulger[edit]

I would suggest that this article be called "William M. Bulger," not "Billy Bulger." There can be a note at top with a cross-reference indicating the nickname, and the first line can say: "William Michael Bulger (Billy Bulger)." There are readers outside of Wikipedia who might look for him by this name rather than the nickname and thus not find this article easily accessible via a search engine. Otherwise, it also looks as though there is too much reliance on the perspective of the book using "Billy Bulger" rather than his more official biographies. People's given names are usually used in Wikipedia articles, with clarifications about nickname, unless the people are better known universally (outside of their local states, communities, e.g.) than Bulger is. --NYScholar 01:25, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm partial to "Billy" but I have to agree. I do think it should be "William Bulger" because he's the most famous "William Bulger" in existence, so for the very reason of making it easy on the readers, we shouldn't use the middle initial. Let people writing about other William Bulgers, if they become prominent, use their middle initials or other words to distinguish those articles, I say. Here's what convinced me. I did six different Google searches and came up with thee results, which clearly show that "Billy" is in a small minority:
  • about 11,600 for "Billy Bulger".
  • about 949 for "Billy Bulger" Massachusetts.
  • about 20,500 for "William Bulger".
  • about 17,100 for "William Bulger" Massachusetts.
William M.:
  • about 17,500 for "William M. Bulger".
  • about 15,500 for "William M. Bulger" Massachusetts.
No doubt some of these are for other William Bulger's, but that seems especially true for "Billy" (notice the steep dropoff when you add "Massachusetts" to "Billy Bulger"). So I have to agree, we should say bye-bye to "Billy" Noroton 04:13, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Notes and References (Citations)[edit]

This item was added to the External links section. It is apparently a source for the main article and its use needs to be indicated clearly throughout it (not added to external links):

Here is the source: Please incorporate citations to it in notes; I'll add it (as corrected below) to References in a bit:

*Gitell, Seth. "Bulger's Denouement." Boston Phoenix December 12, 2002. Accessed September 11, 2006.</ref>

Formatting (MLA) is somewhat different (first name, last name) use of different punctuation, for notes than for references in a bibliography.

Also, when placing brackets in external links, please remember to use the end bracket after the title that one is linking. (I've corrected the formatting of that link, so it shows up as an actively-linked title. Thank you. --NYScholar 08:48, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I added that. A couple of points:
  • If it was used for this article, I can't identify where. The purpose of adding it was to show where readers could find more information on Bulger. External links seemed to be the right spot, not references.
  • I thought formatting for periodical articles, particularly newspapers, cited the article name first -- but I'm no expert, and I'll check it out on Wikipedia.Noroton 18:06, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

[Need for citations in] William Bulger[edit]

Each statement that you draw attention to in this article is corroborated if you care to click on the reference at the end of each section. These are, in fact, accurate contributions to an encyclopedia - not a set of legal dispositions in a court of law! Mr Bulger's autobiography is the reference point for my inputs and if you care to refer to this you will find that everything is in order.

Duf 18:47, 11 September 2006 (UTC) [This comment does not belong on my talk page. It belongs in the talk page of the article; I've threaded it and edited the heading of the section used by the this user, who placed it on my talk page.--NYScholar 04:42, 12 September 2006 (UTC)]

It is not accurate to list source notes only at the end of paragraphs of sections because these sections are open-ended, in that anyone can add more paragraphs to them and add sentences within existing paragraphs. Moreover, when material from sources is being taken from those sources without the use of quotation marks and without clear citations given to notes and/or references at the end of the pertinent sentences (as done throughout parts of this article), that is called plagiarism. It is not enough to list sources at the end of sections for corroboration; one must also document one's sources of statements taken from those sources, especially when using the words from the sources (quotations). Not to do so is to engage in plagiarism from those sources, which are copyrighted; to do so also amounts to copyright infringement. It is not within "fair use" to lift material (without quotation marks) from sources and to put it in articles in Wikipedia or any other publications (online or in print). The biographies listed in the external links and in the publications in "References" are copyright-protected. See Wikipedia's related policies on plagiarism, copyright, copyright infringement. --NYScholar 04:40, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

An example of how one citation at the end of a section will not suffice is the section called "Controversies involving James J. ("Whitey") Bulger," which uses material from several different sources in its various sentences and paragraphs. Additional source citations and more use of quotation marks where those have been erroneously omitted are needed in that section (as indicated by the "citation(s)" tags. Readers should not have to click on sources to find out which parts of sentences come from sources; it is up to writers to provide quotation marks and clearly-positioned superscripts to notes to indicate what parts of sources are used in the article. Material in "Political Career" and in other sections still need documentation (clear use of quotation marks, citations) as well. I appreciate the addition of the citations provided so far. --NYScholar 04:54, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

UMass citation[edit]

I removed the {{facts}} template from the sentence about Bulger's appointment--it is common knowledge that Bulger was appointed president in 1996, that he was a Democrat, that Weld was governor in 1996, and that Weld was a Republican. What needs citing, exactly? Chick Bowen 00:54, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

We could put in the U Mass section that Romney was going to name Howie Carr and Alan Deshowitz, two political enemies are trustees.Tannim2 (talk) 17:34, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Bill Bulger.jpg[edit]

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Image:Bill Bulger.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you. BetacommandBot (talk) 04:21, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

U Mass pension controversy[edit]

I hink there shold be a section on the controversy surrounding his pension. (talk) 21:29, 18 January 2010 (UTC) see

Lived next door to mob property[edit]

This recent NY Times article says:

It was this silence that cost William Bulger his university position 10 years ago and deepened suspicions that he knew more about his brother’s exploits than he let on. After all, William lived right next door to a house owned by one of Whitey’s partners in crime, where the gang hatched plots, stored an arsenal of weapons and even committed murder.

This seems quite significant and I'm sure there are further reliable sources to back it up if necessary. Does inclusion of a sentence about this violate WP:BLP? I don't see anything in that policy that would seem to bear on it, aside from perhaps WP:BLPCRIME, but I'm not particularly proficient with BLP issues. I'm concerned because adding this material might be seen as inferring guilt by association. Perhaps the material can be added along with curative language saying that Bill was never suspected/indicted for any crime. I welcome comments. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:57, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Requested move 24 May 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved to William Bulger. Seems quite uncontroversial to move away from the initialed title per nom, and since that's his actual name and "wins" the ngram, the William Bulger version seems fine.  — Amakuru (talk) 20:42, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

William M. BulgerBilly Bulger – or William Bulger or Bill Bulger per WP:COMMONNAME. The inclusion of his middle initial is relatively uncommon in general use. (Although "Bill Bulger" was a redlink until just now, it has been commonly used.) Google advanced search results page counts – Massachusetts "Billy Bulger": 24000; Massachusetts "William Bulger": 14000; Massachusetts "Bill Bulger": 10000; Massachusetts "William M. Bulger": 7000. Google Books Ngram Viewer shows "William" most common, followed slightly by "Billy", with both dominant over "William M." and then "Bill". —BarrelProof (talk) 19:22, 24 May 2016 (UTC) --Relisted. RGloucester 16:55, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.