So many emails, so little time to respond to them all . . .
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004, Ray Saintonge wrote:
People could have fun with, "acquitted murderer,
O. J. Simpson."??? :-$
I thought about this very example after I sent my email off. Remember, while
Simpson was found not guilty at the criminal trial, a subsequent civil trial
did hold him responsible for the murder.
How, then should we treat this particular case? Did he do it or not?
We have 2 authoritative opinins here, so both should be mentioned in the
article, with the qualifier "he is commonly believed to have killed his wife."
Including both verdicts is important because they show that numerous POVs
exist on the matter.
The terms need to be kept simple and generic.
"Accused" and "alleged"
can probably be merged. "Indicted" may be a term that depends on the
nature of the legal system, but where applicable lends itself well to
precise definition. "Convicted" is easily understood.
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004, S. Vertigo wrote:
Hmm. It would seem to me that some would consider
the rather bland term "alleged" as biased.
I'm treating both of these comments together because they touched on soemthing
that I said which left me unsatisfied: overuse of the word "alleged" can
backfire, & make it appear what is an opinion actual fact. (_Spy_ magazine
years ago managed this very feat when they printed an index to Andy
Worhol's gossip-filled diary: when it came to the entries about Bianca
Jagger, all of the incidents were qualified as "alleged" -- & she was the
only figure for whom this was done. Mush was said with the use of that one
Because of that connotation, I tend towards using the word "accused" when
possible: more than "alleged", "accused" indicates that an opinion has
expressed; & since "accused" does not fluently fit into the passive voice,
it encourages a other Wikipedians to make a contribution & identify _who_
the accuser is.
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004, Christopher Larberg wrote:
I'm not attempting to railroad this discussion
off-track, but perhaps you
could find better places to post your sarcastically anti-American
This one caught me off-guard & took me some time to compose a response.
The point of my examples was to select some that were not as emotion-laden
as the other ones we've discussed on this list: killings related to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, White Supremacy, German-Polish relations. In
trying to frame how to explain the facts & opinions, we too often get
distracted by repeating the "facts". I had tried to pick some examples
that would allow me to help everyone see where I was going, rather than
become distracted with the ladder I was using to get us there. I obviously
failed at this by my selection of controversial examples, & I'm sorry
However, as a U.S. citizen, I was under the impression that I was free to
criticize any public figure, as long as I did not indulge in slander or
libel. None of the things I wrote were either, & I am deeply offended that
by exercising my right to free speech I am seen as being unfaithful to my
country. Especially as that email has been the only time I said anything
on this email list that could be considered critical of my country. And
for the record, away from Wikipedia I am far less kind & restrained about
what I say about the goofballs who are unashamedly grinding my country into