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Talk:2010–2017 Toronto serial homicides


are you creating a new Bruce McArthur article?Edit

He was declared guilty, therefore is a serial killer.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fabianbarthe (talkcontribs) 14:20, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

As concluded here, the consensus was made that this homicides article would not be moved but that a separate page would be created for McArthur. At this point, it's a matter of separating the 2010-2017 homicide info (which will remain here) and some McArthur info (which will be used on the new page). I believe people are waiting for the McArthur case to cool down to sort information. Handoto (talk) 04:11, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Use of infobox(es)Edit

@ thanks for adding the infobox to the suspect biography section. I've been a little cautious with BLP concerns and Template:Infobox criminal says in its documentation that This template is generally reserved for convicted serial killers [...] but it seems to be alright; it doesn't place any controversial text on the page. What about an infobox for the crimes themselves (to go in the lead)? I've used Template:Infobox civilian attack for mass shootings and Template:Infobox event for single crimes, but I'm not sure about this article which is about several killings over several years. The unsolved Claremont serial murders also uses Infobox criminal (a redirect from infobox serial killer) with a media name (which we don't have here). – Reidgreg (talk) 18:20, 5 October 2018 (UTC)

Reverts regarding "inaccurate information"Edit

I reverted some edits by the IP 2607:fea8:705f:ff2c:3185:7b17:ac03:69c8 which claimed "inaccurate information". The references named "GallantMinimal" and "GoodfieldReoffend" cite court documents unsealed in June which were not available to the National Post when they published their story on McArthur on February 2. I feel that the newer information is more accurate. If you disagree, please discuss here. Thanks. – Reidgreg (talk) 17:31, 24 October 2018 (UTC)


This statement has been commented out for now for the following reasons:

  • The writer failed to explain what this somewhat less than widely used slang word means;
  • It is a slang word to begin with, and en:WP is supposed to be in Standard English;
  • The statement is referenced, but the referenced article says that the police would not explain what the word meant;
  • In view of that last point, it means nothing to many people;
  • There is no WP article about "staging" (not in any sense that would apply here, anyway);

From what I managed to find in the Urban Dictionary, I believe that it means that Bruce McArthur shat on his victims' bodies (but we can say "defecated" in the article, I suppose). I suggest that we wait until the term is explained in another source directly linked with this case, comment the statement back in with the word "staged" replaced with something more meaningful and in accordance with that source, and use that source as the reference. Kelisi (talk) 02:57, 30 January 2019 (UTC)

Another source, however, seems to put the lie to my conclusion about what "staging" means here. All the more reason to leave this statement out for now, I say.Kelisi (talk) 03:26, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
I have found this:
Staging can mean simply moving a body around to evade investigation, or it can be more involved, such as putting a body somewhere to take photos, or dressing up a body, Det. David Dickenson explained to Global News.
Perry said typically serial killers would stage bodies, either in states of dress or undress, to take photos or video, “so that the subject can revisit their act long afterwards.”
That's here. I am still a bit confused, though, as to why the police would not define the word at the outdoor press conference yesterday morning. It was as if the meaning was something dirty that they didn't want to say on television — as if that Urban Dictionary definition that I found were the right one after all.
Well, there we go. Kelisi (talk) 07:48, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
Well, you've had a nice little conversation with yourself (above). I'm not sure if you have the same issue with the edit at the end [of your comments] as you had at the beginning. I didn't want to combine sources (WP:SYNTH) but left it to the reader to put together the earlier reports that McArthur took post-mortem photographs of the victims with the court statement that he staged victims, to mean that he staged the victims for photographs. I feel that's pretty easy to put together for anyone who reads the article or is familiar with the case. – Reidgreg (talk) 15:43, 30 January 2019 (UTC)
What I thought was obvious has now been confirmed (CBC News) "Staged photos and souvenirs". I have updated the article accordingly. – Reidgreg (talk) 18:41, 5 February 2019 (UTC)

Requested move 31 January 2019Edit

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 after discussing it on the closer's talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved. There is consensus that this is about the events, not just the person, and that an article about the killer can be split off if necessary.  — Amakuru (talk) 22:42, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

2010–2017 Toronto serial homicidesBruce McArthur – This was the original title; it was moved for BLP reasons. McArthur has now pleaded guilty and all reliable sources identify McArthur as a serial killer. [1] [2] [3] BLP concerns no longer apply. Ribbet32 (talk) 00:43, 31 January 2019 (UTC) --Relisting. SITH (talk) 11:58, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

  • Support All other pages about serial killers use the name of the murderer for the page. Alex of Canada (talk) 03:29, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
    • @Alex of Canada: that's an other stuff exists argument, and I'm not sure if all is accurate. I'd appreciate if you could look at the particular needs of this article rather than making a blanket statement. – Reidgreg (talk) 14:17, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
It's not OTHERSTUFF; WP:CONSISTENCY is policy in titling articles. Ribbet32 (talk) 00:34, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose The present article is about the crimes, not the person, and has a scope far broader than a biography. This should be a content split discussion rather than a move discussion. The article is a bit big and while I plan to summarize a lot of the material as facts are established in court, I wouldn't mind having the biographical material split out. However, I think that needs to be discussed in depth, and to include other potential content splits like the external review of TPS missing persons cases. – Reidgreg (talk) 03:43, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
    The prosesize script places the article at 11,152 words and 68k characters, which exceeds the recommendations of WP:LENGTH and is in the "Probably should be divided" recommendation of WP:SPLITSIZE. I ask that this discussion be closed in favour of discussing a split/fork of the article's content. – Reidgreg (talk) 14:17, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
    According to these pageview stats only about 1 in 15 readers is going to the redirect at Bruce McArthur – almost all of them go straight to the article at 2010–2017 Toronto serial homicides. – Reidgreg (talk) 00:07, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
Probably because if you search "Bruce McArthur" on google you get a link to 2010–2017 Toronto serial homicides. GiovanniSidwell (talk) 21:02, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I saw this news item the other day, and searched for his name here, only to be surprised to be redirected to the current title. The current title is overly complex, possibly contains WP:OR, and becomes less and less recognisable as the years go by. Lugnuts Fire Walk with Me 06:20, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
    • @Lugnuts: How is this title original research? It is a descriptive title. The recent agreed statement of facts (link) establishes that the eight murders all happened in Toronto between 2010 and 2017. This is not disputed. – Reidgreg (talk) 14:17, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
      • Eight murders. Or is that eight homicides? There's one issue for starters. This article has been developed over time while the case was still live (IE during WP's existance). It's not an historic case that pre-dated this encyclopedia, when facts about who did it would already have been known. The current title is too clunkly, esp. with the date range. Now look at this case in five or tens years from now. How many people will know the precise dates? Was it 2010 to 2015? Or did it start in 2009 and continue to 2016? Continue that variation by putting a year either side of the start and end period. Just ask a small sample of your friends a quick-fire question: What year did 9/11 happen? You might be surprised at how many get it wrong. And before anyone jumps down my throat, I'm not comparing these killings to 9/11, just pointing out how difficult it can be to remember even the year of when X event took place. And finally, we wouldn't have the article at 1978–1991 Milwaukee serial homicides for Jeffrey Dahmer. Lugnuts Fire Walk with Me 18:29, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
        • (So it's not OR then?) I'm all for there being an article at Bruce McArthur. I'm also all for a better title for this article, if you can suggest one. But it doesn't make sense to move the whole article to Bruce McArthur only to then split it and move some back here. Jeffrey Dahmer has the exact same problem: it's 10551 words (63 kB) and ought to be split. There wouldn't be any navigation issue if readers can follow links from the biography article to the crime article(s). A content split for this article should consider the related articles Death of Alloura Wells and Murder of Tess Richey, and how to gather the overlapping effects from the separate crimes. Then there's the matter of the Mad Stabber murders of the 1970s. Should those get their own article or would you have them pile on with a single article at Bruce McArthur? How big does this have to get before you'd agree to have the crimes and biography in separate articles? – Reidgreg (talk) 20:51, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong Support as mentioned above, keeping consistency is important. All other pages use the killer's name. While I understand the original move from Bruce McArthur, he has now pleaded guilty, meaning he is no longer a suspect of the crimes listed in the article here. This page should identify McArthur as a serial killer. Handoto (talk) 15:10, 31 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep present page, but support creation of a separate Bruce McArthur article as well: The article is more than just a biography of McArthur, so the continuation of the present article under present (or possibly amended title) is very vital. But part of the article may be presented under a Bruce McArthur bio page, provided an adequate resume of such is well-placed in the present article. werldwayd (talk) 14:24, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
  • support I was surprised to see that this wasn't already the case --TorsodogTalk 00:11, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose move but support split of biographical test to separate article. This article is about a lot more than Bruce McArthur and would not be appropriate in the Bruce McArthur page. The Michigan murders article is like this one but doesn't have as much info about the murderer. PopularOutcasttalk2me! 05:45, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose Two different issues, do not conflate Kanatonian (talk) 21:43, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support See Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Dean Corll, etc. BagInACampfire (talk) 00:15, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
    • The prosesize script says that those pages are 10,551, 15,879, 11,797, and 10,005 words (respectively). They are each large enough to be split. This is a textbook other stuff exists argument, as some of these other articles display even worse examples of the problems this article is facing. – Reidgreg (talk) 18:57, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
      • It's not OTHERSTUFF; WP:CONSISTENCY is policy in titling articles. Ribbet32 (talk) 00:34, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
        WP:CONSISTENCY refers to the pattern of titles, which I believe means formatting and phrasing, for example to title biographies in the form <first name> <last name>. It also says that these should not be seen as rules. Category:Wikipedia naming conventions does not include anything about serial killers or crimes. Other stuff exists does not represent a previous consensus. I understand what you're saying, and the value of it, but I believe you are making an interpretation beyond what is actually stated by this policy.
        What I've been trying to stress from the beginning is that this should be a content split discussion. If the content is split, the subjects (of the two halves) will be determined by how we split the content. Then, depending on the subject and content, we can determine suitable titles for the article(s). Also, if the article is moved, editors are going to jump in to rephrase the article to suit the new title, which will have to be undone or redone following a split. It would be wasted effort all around. – Reidgreg (talk) 16:08, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
        @Ribbet32: I read a little more on WP:CONSISTENCY and, in the absence of an established common name, Wikipedia:Naming conventions (events) specifically recommends the <when> <where> <what> format of 2010–2017 Toronto serial homicides. – Reidgreg (talk) 14:10, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
    • For counter-examples, in addition to Michigan murders mentioned by PopularOutcast above, there's also Peterborough ditch murders, 2006 Noida serial murders, Atlanta murders of 1979–81 and the GA Ipswich serial murders. The latter two have separate articles for the killers. – Reidgreg (talk) 15:32, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose a simple move, because this article contains entirely too much content that is irrelevant to a biography of McArthur himself — the anger about the police handling of the investigation, and the way it's fed into the controversy about whether the cops should be allowed to march in uniform at Pride Toronto or not, are a very separate topic from McArthur as a person — but support a content split, so that McArthur and the investigation are treated as two separate topics with separate articles. Yes, now that he's been convicted the old WP:PERP issues that militated against a biographical article about him no longer apply — but the now-recreatable biographical article should consist of portions of this article getting spun out as a separate topic, not just the sum total of everything that's present in this article, because not all of the content here is relevant to a standalone biography of him. Bearcat (talk) 16:50, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose move, support split per the others. There are two articles here, one about the crimes and other other about the perpetrator. Thryduulf (talk) 18:51, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per WP:CONSISTENCY. Nearly all other articles dealing with serial killers and their crimes are named after the individual responsible for the crimes. ExRat (talk) 18:32, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
Do you have an actual reason why a wholesale move of this article, which contains a lot of content that is either tangential or entirely irrelevant to McArthur as a person, would be somehow preferable to splitting this article so that McArthur as a person and the event as an event are two separate articles? Bearcat (talk) 18:41, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
Now that I have thoroughly read the article, you bring up a very valid point. Whilst most articles on serial killers are quite straightforward and generally focus on the individual charged and an overview of the crimes, this article differs significantly in that it focuses on the investigation, controversies surrounding the investigation, legal proceedings, etc. I now support a split into two articles. ExRat (talk) 20:59, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
I also note that the consistency clause of the article naming guidelines is not the only factor to take into account. It is but one of several pieces of guidance, and there's nothing that says consistency is the most important, ruling, or only criteria which should trump all other considerations. You can't just cite it as though it would somehow absolve you from actually giving reasons to change it. --Jayron32 18:56, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose moving or renaming this article. Article scope is more about the crimes than a full biography of the perpetrator. Agnostic on creating a different article to handle his biography separate from the crimes. --Jayron32 18:44, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Weak Support for Splitting - there are arugments to be had on both sides, but since both the crime spree and the perpetrator seem to have enough coverage and content to pass WP:GNG, I think spliting the two article would be perhaps the best option available rather than having this inevitable move discussion every year or so. Inter&anthro (talk) 18:46, 8 February 2019 (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.

I'm going to ask to hold any further move or split discussions until the article is more stable. I have been the primary editor of this article since its major expansion last spring, I did its DYK and ITN promotion, and plan to eventually take it to GAN. I know that I don't own the article and that my opinion on it shouldn't carry any extra weight, but chances are that I will end up doing most of the work as this article moves forward. I am taking a long view with this article and want to make the best use of my time, and would prefer to avoid doing more rewrites than necessary. I feel that it would not be appropriate to do major rewrites or make major decisions about the article while there continue to be frequent updates on the subject (i.e.: while the subject and article are unstable). So I would ask for patience to wait until the subject stabilizes. Then I can do a rewrite and/or we can discuss splits or moves as appropriate to a stable version of the article. There is nothing terribly wrong with the article as it stands; it does not have any major guideline violations. It is a little long, but is comparable in length to the GA Ted Bundy, so it doesn't seem like that's a huge problem. Thank you for your consideration. – Reidgreg (talk) 17:07, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

GillisRuling sourceEdit

@Heart of Destruction: thanks for spotting the title change with that source. That was a 'breaking news' story and unfortunately I did not archive it. The story at that url has since been completely rewritten, so I adjusted the citation (GillisRuling → GillisConcurrent) and the quotation which it no longer fully supported. Should be good now. I also checked a CBC 'breaking news' source and it's still okay (they added to it rather than rewriting). – Reidgreg (talk) 18:49, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

Muslim victimsEdit

{{WP Islam|Islam-and-Controversy=y|class=B|category=no}}

Given that violence against Muslims is an important topic as well as violence against gays, it is odd that none of the victims is directly identified as being Muslim or a person of a family of that faith. Would there be objection to mentioning this aspect of these terrible murders as there is a high probability that many of these middle eastern and South Asian victims might be muslim? Bachcell (talk) 16:55, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Bachcell As none of the victims were outright Muslim, it would not be appropriate to put this tag on the talk page. Thanks! Mgasparin (talk) 22:32, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
It's not clear that all or most of the victims were Muslim, or even that religion was particularly relevant. We certainly know that most of the victims were South Asian, but they appear to be very split between people from countries (Iran, Afghanistan) where they could be presumed as possible Muslims, and countries (India, Sri Lanka) where they would be more likely Hindus or Buddhists. And even Iran and Afghanistan still have Christian and Hindu minority groups as well, so just because somebody was from one of those countries doesn't automatically prove that they're Muslim per se.
Most of the victims have not, in fact, had the question of their religion clarified on the record by the police or the media at all. So it's not our job to guess that maybe some of them were — our job is to wait until the media and the police actually tell us whether some of them were Muslims or not. Bearcat (talk) 00:44, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
It's stated in the article that one of the victims was the son of a Muslim cleric. Another wanted to make sure his daughters got everything they wanted for Christmas. However, I never got the impression that religion was important except for possibly being part of the general cultural homophobia that kept (some) victims in the closet, leading secret lives, which made them easy targets for McArthur. But I didn't feel there was enough in the sources to state that explicitly and was leaving it for the readers to conclude (or not). I'll consider this as I go over sources for a rewrite, but I don't remember it being explicitly addressed in the media. There's plenty about race, but I don't recall much about religion. – Reidgreg (talk) 15:57, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Sensitivity and privacy concernsEdit

Can I get some other opinions on the article's sensitivity toward the victims and their families? I reverted this IP edit which took the sourced information with history of drug use out of a table. The IP's edit summary stated selim was a very nice person, and such a comment like drug use, is offensive to him and his family. I felt it was relevant because it represents a vulnerability of the victim (which is what that column of the table was trying to convey), because [Selim] Esen and McArthur had both used the same drug rehab program, and because recreational drugs were allegedly used by McArthur in an alleged attack (which may have been a murder attempt).

I have tried to be sensitive while presenting the relevant and established information about the subjects. I tried not to present people as gay if they did not openly identify as gay, for example, and I tried not to name people who were peripheral to the case or to list complete addresses.

I would also appreciate thoughts on a few specifics:

  • Should McArthur's son, daughter and wife be named? (I'm thinking it isn't necessary, though it's easier to write his son's name than "McArthur's son" repeatedly.)
  • Should the victim of an alleged assault be named? In this particular case, there is documented evidence consistent with McArthur's pre-kill rituals, and the person's name was published a number of times. Guidelines say we can use his name. However, he was traumatized by the attack and then again by survivor's guilt, and I don't want to make it any more difficult on this person.
  • When it comes to images, should one of McArthur's widely published smiling photos be used? Some found these objectionable, that he appeared to be gloating. (I'm not a big image person and will have to look into this further.)

Just looking for general thoughts or perspectives I may have overlooked.

  • I agree with your reversion of the drug use content — for starters, using drugs is not automatically in conflict with being a nice guy. Some drug users are nice guys and some are not, but there's no inherent relationship between the two things and it's not our role to pretend there is.
    For McArthur's family members, I'd default to excluding their names on WP:BLPPRIVACY grounds. They're suffering enough as it is (I know I'd need a shitload of therapy if I ever found out that my dad was a serial killer) without having their names permanently linked to his on one of the most widely-read websites in the world — so we really shouldn't violate their privacy unless a really good reason, much more compelling than "somebody in the world might want to know", emerges to make including their names in the article important. (For example, if three or four years from now one of them publishes a memoir about their process of coping with the revelation, that would be strong grounds for adding their name here.)
    For the assault victim, I'm of two minds — I can see both sides of the argument, though again my instinct would be to err in the direction of his personal privacy rights.
    For photos, I'd think there would be valid grounds to include one of the "smiling" photos (assuming a legitimate fair use claim can be made for it, since there's a prior copyright issue), so long as the article actually contextualized it with some text about the fact that there was controversy around the police's use of a photo that made him look like a happy-go-lucky grandpa. It probably shouldn't be used in the infobox, but there would probably be a valid case for a sidebar thumbnail somewhere in the body that placed the photo next to a paragraph of commentary on the photo controversy.
    That's my two cents, anyway. Bearcat (talk) 19:05, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
    • There's a fair use rational for the short section Media use of photos (which also discusses Lisowick's mug shot and the post-mortem photo of Kanagaratnam). GA reviewers are going to want more pictures, so I'll have to read up on the rules about photos released by the police, pictures (particularly selfies) taken by people now deceased, and missing persons posters which are designed to be disseminated. – Reidgreg (talk) 20:33, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

"Amyl nitrate"Edit

I note that this article mis-spells the name amyl nitrite as above. I acknowledge that this error is common, and I believe that the sources spell it wrongly too. Nevertheless, it is a mistake. I would rather spell it correctly in running text, with a footnote that sources spell it wrongly, than use the sic template, especially as amyl nitrate is a real, and different, compound with different properties. It's perhaps a bit like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, which also differ by one oxygen atom and have very different properties. What do others think? --MarchOrDie (talk) 11:14, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

We don't alter direct quotes. Right or wrong, a direct quote has to be quoted absolutely verbatim with a sic plopped down on the errors, rather than "corrected". Bearcat (talk) 15:15, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
It isn't a direct quote. Apart from that, you make a good point. --MarchOrDie (talk) 19:43, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I think given that the sources aren't competent with the chemistry and folks here aren't that bothered about it either, maybe our readers don't need it and just poppers is fine. Those interested enough can click on the link and discover the joys of alkyl nitrites. Does that work? --MarchOrDie (talk) 21:47, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
    • It is beyond me to make an in-depth review of the sources to determine whether they are reliable for chemistry. As per my edit summary, that spelling was used by 10 sources (I didn't cite them all per WP:OVERCITATION but if wished I could link them here). Presumably, they were all following the spelling from a 2003 court document. One of them quoted a sentence from the court report, and I made sure to cite that source and put it in quotes with the [sic]. If this was a spelling error, the fact that it was reproduced so broadly suggests to me that we should also reproduce it, per sources. "Poppers" alone might be a bit ambiguous. I would prefer to hear more opinions before taking any action. – Reidgreg (talk) 16:02, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
      • If this was a spelling error? I take it you aren't familiar with this area! Nobody would take amyl nitrate recreationally as it has no drug effect. In what sense would you say that poppers is "a bit ambiguous"? The article explains very well that poppers are alkyl nitrites (not nitrates) that are inhaled for their muscular relaxant and psychoactive effects. I feel quite strongly that this Wikipedia article should not repeat a mistake that sources were too lazy and incompetent to check. We should aim higher than that. --MarchOrDie (talk) 19:16, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
        • @MarchOrDie: Making this judgement call on what you believe the court and sources meant in this particular case seems to me to be original research. Also, I feel that it is disruptive editing to continue to make edits on something which has been contested and is under discussion (see WP:BRRR) and invite you to self-revert until consensus has formed. – Reidgreg (talk) 15:11, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
          • Your meta-opinion is noted. I think the discussion is over though; I note you aren't discussing any longer but merely nitpicking now. Indeed there is nothing to discuss. Knowing one's arse from one's elbow on a topic is a long, long way from original research. --MarchOrDie (talk) 15:54, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
        • I reverted back to the [sic] version as part of a time-consuming manual revert that I had to do following the improper application of a script (outside the bounds of MOS:DATEFORMAT which specifically does not apply to citations). The threshold of original research is being able to determine something "without specialized knowledge". If knowledge of chemistry is needed to tell the difference, that would seem to make it OR. Feel free to return to this after familiarizing yourself with the policies and guidelines. – Reidgreg (talk) 16:26, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
          • Gosh. You're revealing that it isn't only Chemistry you are ignorant of. On what grounds did you revert? I really don't want to get into an edit-war, but you're approaching vandalism here by adding something we know to be untrue. --MarchOrDie (talk) 16:31, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
            • Your specialized knowledge says it's untrue. 10 reliable sources back it up. Using the [sic] gives a compromise fully in line with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. If you have something to say based on policy and guidelines, I'll hear you out. But repeating your opinion (and making ad hominem attacks) adds nothing to the discussion. – Reidgreg (talk) 17:07, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
              • Are the sources reliable chemistry nomenclature sources? Since they are not reliable for that purpose, they should not be used for that purpose, unless we really are going to use a direct quote, which I don't see as useful here. Instead, we should do as MarchOrDie has done, and use the correct spelling, so that we link to the correct compound. I agree we should stick to source material, but where the source material is acknowledged to be wrong, we aren't bound to repeat their mistakes. --Jayron32 17:22, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
                  • Also, per WP:RS, "Information provided in passing by an otherwise reliable source that is not related to the principal topics of the publication may not be reliable;" This is clearly one of those cases. It is right there in policy: if a reliable source gets something wrong that is outside of their own area of reliability, we aren't bound to follow them. We know that this compound is supposed to be spelled amyl nitrite, and as such, we should use that spelling. Because that's what actual, reliable, chemistry sources call it. --Jayron32 17:25, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
                • @Jayron32: Is it possible that you are missing the context? This is not an article about chemistry and drugs. This is an article about law and crime, and the sources are reliable for that (at least two of the authors specialize in such reporting). The article is not discussing what the drug is. The article is discussing what was entered into evidence in a court of law and what the ruling of that court was. Those are the "facts" being summarized. I believe there are legal issues and BLP issues to altering what was stated in court. Is it not important that the article faithfully reflect the court record, particularly as many records associated with the incident are no longer in existence? I'm not convinced that it is the proper course of action to second-guess a legal ruling (and especially to do so without inline comment). On the other hand, is there anything particularly wrong with the style "amyl nitrate [sic]"? It is factual in the context of the records of this legal case. – Reidgreg (talk) 15:05, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
                  • To the degree that this article discusses chemistry and drugs, it is an article about chemistry and drugs, and it ought therefore to deal with these aspects of the story accurately rather than inaccurately. If it's important to you to reflect the sources' errors in the article, there is the option of using a footnote to point this out, as previously suggested. --MarchOrDie (talk) 15:30, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
                    • But if someone admits in court to using "amyl nitrate" and the court ruling prohibits them from using "amyl nitrate" should we not report it thus? Changing it to "amyl nitrite[s]" is not factual to the court ruling. Should we not err on the side of caution here? If one is a recreational drug (I'm not certain of its legal status in the jurisdiction) and the other "has no drug effect" (from comments above), it would be less harmful to use the latter. Stating something potentially harmful about a living person which is unsourced/unverified would seem to be a BLP violation, and makes no sense to me when there is a viable alternative. – Reidgreg (talk) 13:08, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
                      • So you've had time to make eight posts here and one unhelpful revert, but haven't had the few seconds it would take to apprise yourself of the substance's legal status? Allow me. Alkyl nitrites are not banned per se in Canada, but their sale as intoxicants is. If this is a real concern for BLP, perhaps a visit to WP:BLPN is in order? --MarchOrDie (talk) 22:06, 18 February 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Thanks User:Jayron32 for your cluefulness. I've restored the factual version as it didn't seem right to leave a counter-factual version up while we discuss. If there is anything else to discuss then I am open to it, but really there was no need for all this. User:Jayron32 has hit the nail on the head. --MarchOrDie (talk) 21:30, 14 February 2019 (UTC)

@MarchOrDie: on Wikipedia, when an edit is contested, we discuss the matter until a consensus is formed. Consensus is reached when the involved editors consent to a solution. It is not reached (and discussion summarily closed) the moment that a single editor agrees with you. Making a contentious edit on a matter under discussion is disruptive editing ("continues editing [...] despite opposition from other editors", "Does not engage in consensus building"). Please refrain from such behaviour. Furthermore, your double-revert changed a lot more than the central matter under discussion here. I have twice warned you about WP:BRR (above and here). I invite you to self-revert to the earlier stable version of the article. I would rather resolve this through consensus than by escalating dispute resolution. – Reidgreg (talk) 15:05, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
Your further meta-opinion is noted, and so is your failure to engage on the actual matter under discussion. --MarchOrDie (talk) 15:07, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
 * Edit request: Could I ask one of the other editors to revert this edit. This edit is MarchOrDie's second reversion to the matter under discussion while it was under discussion, and also undid a time-consuming manual revert of an ill-advised script edit (the script, User:Ohconfucius/script/MOSNUM dates has a known bug in that it strips non-breaking spaces from dates which are advised throughout MOS:NUM and should be kept according to MOS:RETAIN, and the script is not advised to be used on articles as developed as this). I'm afraid that if it remains much longer it may require another time-consuming manual revert. Thanks. – Reidgreg (talk) 13:52, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
I don't advise that. Restoring information you know to be incorrect would cross the line into vandalism. --MarchOrDie (talk) 21:30, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
I should expect that level of WP:IRONY after you said I was "nitpicking" in this discussion you started over one letter in a word beginning with "nit". – Reidgreg (talk) 23:25, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

It's certainly true that "nitrate" isn't the correct chemical name of poppers, but it's not just a one-off error either — in common usage, poppers are virtually always called "amyl nitrate" and never "amyl nitrite", and chemical nomenclature sources are literally the only ones that ever actually get their chemical name correct. So if we "corrected" the sources, a lot of people would perceive that as an error as well, and there'd be a constant reversion war to "fix" it back to "nitrate". So the most appropriate compromise between common terminology and what's actually correct is to keep the spelling the sources actually use, embedded in quotation marks with a [sic] — and doing that doesn't prevent us from linking to the correct article, either, because we can easily still pipe a link to the correct article behind the sicced direct quote. Bearcat (talk) 18:58, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

The sources use "poppers" which is correct and we should stick with that as we know it to be true. I think Jayron32 has already explained why WP:RS would not support the use of something we know to be wrong, even if otherwise-reliable sources use the wrong spelling. --MarchOrDie (talk) 21:26, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
I completely agree with Bearcat. This is why Wikipedia has rules for verifiability and faithful reproduction of quotes, to avoid pointless edit wars over what editors feel is "right" or "true". I personally feel that the sources are being cautious by following the court ruling verbatim, as to do otherwise could be libellous. I don't believe the RS argument applies here, as they are reliable for reporting on this court event (I would not, however, use them for the poppers article). – Reidgreg (talk) 13:08, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
  • What if we avoid the problem by using "[[amyl nitrite|poppers]]" and not listing the chemical name at all. Let people click the link if they are interested. --Jayron32 12:50, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
    • We currently link to poppers, which is true to the sources (both sources use the word) and correct. No problem with changing the target of the link. Interested users can, as you say, click on the link. I think this is definitely the best possible solution. --MarchOrDie (talk) 21:30, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
      • So instead of having the unsourced, harmful and misleading text "amyl nitrite" you propose to have a piped link making an unsourced, harmful and misleading connection to amyl nitrite. I feel as though the (unpiped) link to poppers is more than sufficient. The poppers article discusses the recreational drug, which is more context-appropriate than amyl nitrite which discusses it as a chemical compound. MOS:SPECIFICLINK states Always link to the article on the most specific topic appropriate to the context from which you link. The lead of poppers links to amyl nitrite (and also alkyl nitrites, isobutyl nitrites, isopropyl nitrites), while amyl nitrite only links to poppers in its body, so it is easier to find your way from poppers to amyl nitrite than the reverse. MOS:LINKCLARITY states that The article linked to should correspond to the term showing as the link as closely as possible. Furthermore, if "poppers" is within quotes, as it was in the stable version of the article (which makes it clear that this slang term is taken from the court documents and not added in Wikipedia's voice), then the link should only target the meaning intended by the quote's author (MOS:LINKQUOTE). Piping to amyl nitrite has the same issues as stating "amyl nitrite" in the text, plus the above. – Reidgreg (talk) 23:25, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
        • I'm having trouble understanding why you characterize linking to or using the correct spelling is harmful or misleading. Can you clarify? --Jayron32 18:46, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
          • The harmful part would be in regard to Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons (BLP) policy, as above. I'll be happy to discuss any of the cited policies and guidelines if you have specific questions, but I believe that it's been made clear that there are several policy-level issues which make this more than a trivial spelling concern. – Reidgreg (talk) 13:25, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
            • I think you're being a bit silly. If the sources say "poppers" and incorrectly gloss it as "amyl nitrate", we silently correct the sources (which are not authorities on chemical nomenclature), either by keeping just the true bit (our current modus vivendi), or (as Jayron32 suggests) by adding the correct spelling. This really isn't difficult. It's our mission to create a free encyclopedia which is accurate. For the second time, if you really have BLP concerns here, WP:BLPN would be the best place to raise this. I'd be genuinely interested to see what the folks there would think. WP:CRYBLP is an interesting essay to read if you haven't seen it. --MarchOrDie (talk) 19:18, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Sounds like the solution is to leave it as it is then. Glad we were able to come to an agreement. MarchOrDie (talk) 18:44, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
    I'm fine with leaving the amyl nitrite out then, if it is such a point of contention. If using the correct spelling causes people undue stress, and we have a link to poppers anyways (which they can read to find out more), then leaving it out should be fine. I still don't know why being correct is so problematic for people, but it is, and if leaving the terminology out entirely causes them to not get upset and become rude towards others, everyone wins. --Jayron32 18:51, 20 February 2019 (UTC)


I think that there are many terms that need not be linked, or are multiply linked throughout this article. Here is a list that I have come up with:

life imprisonment

Section Early life

Toronto (2nd link)
one-room schoolhouse

Section Married life

Toronto (3rd link)
gay village (2nd link)
Church and Wellesley (2nd link)

Section Halloween assault

barred (restraining order) [maybe this provides some additional information??]
TPS (2nd link)

Section Gay bachelor

dating app (2nd link)
sic (2nd link, and I personally think it's unnecessary to begin with)
landscaper (2nd link, ditto on the unnecessary)
Santa Claus

Section Project Houston

TPS (3rd link)
Dodge Caravan

Section Missing Rainbow Community

gay pride

Section Apartment and Leaside home

Leaside (2nd link)
planter boxes (2nd link)
OPP (2nd link)

Section Legal proceedings

life imprisonment (2nd link)

Section Controversies

US $

Section Alleged 2016 assault

TPSB (2nd link)

Section Handling of missing persons cases

Globe and Mail (2nd link)

Section #LoveWins

Kristyn Wong-Tam (2nd link)

I also wonder whether all of the geographic/location references need to be linked: St. Michael's Hospital, Yonge Street, Thorncliffe Park, Agincourt Mall, Rosedale, Leaside, and many, many others. Jkgree (talk) 22:13, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

@Jkgree: The article has been in the news quite a bit in the past two weeks and saw frequent updating as material was released. For example, there was note of the Dodge Caravan as the crucial early evidence in the investigation, so I put that in a couple paragraphs earlier and then somebody linked it. You're quite right that it shouldn't be linked twice in one section (WP:OVERLINKING). However, there are still changes being made (I plan to rewrite the article once things calm down) and the order things are mentioned will change, and consequently the first-mention links will have to be changed. I personally don't feel it's worthwhile to worry about it now, but feel free to fix some of these if you want.
I will note that the article is quite long, and in some cases I feel it's okay for things to be linked in multiple sections (rather than requiring the reader to scroll up and up in search of the link). For example, Kristyn Wong-Tam features prominently in the #LoveWins section and I thought it was worth linking her there. The link of the Globe and Mail in Media use of photos was discussing their editorial decision and I thought that was a useful place to link it, especially if the reader wished to compare with the Toronto Star which was linked in the same paragraph. I'd also note that the article gets some international readership and we might want to link terms which aren't common outside North America. I feel the neighbourhoods should be linked; the streets if they're notable. He worked at Agincourt Mall so that's worth linking, but could probably do without linking the hospital. – Reidgreg (talk) 16:30, 13 February 2019 (UTC)


I can see this article has some major issues; let me highlight the "controversies" section. When the article is in better shape, the contents of this section will have been integrated into other sections. --MarchOrDie (talk) 12:08, 14 February 2019 (UTC)

Noted, though as I've been reviewing they seem more connected than in my first rewrite/expansion. There's the initial reactions, then the victim blaming comment leading into the leaked reports of the alleged 2016 assault and the release of a post-mortem photograph, and then the external review (and perhaps soon a provincial inquiry). I will try to summarize it a little better, but I feel a certain amount of separation by subject works better than a purely chronological article. – Reidgreg (talk) 15:19, 14 February 2019 (UTC)
Return to "2010–2017 Toronto serial homicides" page.