Husband name[edit]

Public records (Civil Registration Birth Index) indicate that Paula Ann Vennells is her birth name. Some sources seem to suggest that her husband also goes by the name Vennells, though perhaps he may also use his birth name, John D Wilson - they married in Bedford in 1994. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:57, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]

OR? Remember too that such public records are frowned upon by WP:BLPPRIMARY. I think we need robust secondary sources and due weight to go there, but cannot currently see what value it would add to the article, or why we would want to detail it. -- DeFacto (talk). 10:04, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Companies House gives it as Anne. FreeBMD gives only the initial A. The CBE revocation petition site at page also gives it as Anne. But that's also a banned source? How about Crockfords here?Martinevans123 (talk) 10:18, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The spelling Anne seems to be correct. I didn't suggest that her husband's name should be in the article - simply that attributing the surname Vennells to him is perhaps incorrect. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:17, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I see that the detail at Crockfords requires a subscription, so to get to any detail you have to drop something in the offerTORY? Martinevans123 (talk) 12:24, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Try this. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:31, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, both seem fine to me. Although I now see it was already there for the CBE in the Honours section... Martinevans123 (talk) 12:36, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes John D Wilson seems to be on LinkedIn, retired from ABB and now working in the voluntary sector. Not sure his birth name is really needed for this article. Although articles for most female individuals almost always favour a record of maiden names? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:56, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think that, if a reliable source were to report his full name, we should include it - but, so far, I don't think they have. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:54, 12 January 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It looks odd to say she married John Vennells. Pending a reliable source couldn't we just call him John or her husband? Southdevonian (talk) 22:51, 18 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, it looks odd because it's wrong. Or at least just redundant. His name was John D Wilson. Martinevans123 (talk) 07:52, 19 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Role as COO of Post Office Limited[edit]

I have added mention of Vennells' role as COO of POL prior to becoming CEO. Without that piece of information, the article could be seen to suggest that she had no responsibility for the Post Office scandal prior to becoming CEO. As the developing story shows, that is clearly not the case. Yes, there is a lot more that we will learn in the near future, but for now the simple fact that she was COO for a while is notable.

The source used is a witness statement in the enquiry. This seems a good source as that fact was not challenged in the hearing. There are also other documents in the hearing that confirm the COO role. If need be, I would expect there to be a newspaper article that could be used as a source. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 20:12, 14 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I tend to agree. But are witness statements in the enquiry regarded as WP:PRIMARY? A newspaper article would probably be preferred. When she comes to give evidence herself, Vennels may deny her responsibility at that time? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:34, 14 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Vennells may possibly deny responsibility (not sure how – the main business system has surely got to fall under the remit of a COO – but that's OR), but she cannot deny the job title. At an absolute minimum, we have the date that she became a director of POL (Oct 2010) at[1]. Without something prior to becoming CEO it looks as though she arrived from outside the company.
I am looking for a newspaper article, but the sensation-seeking journalists do not seem to have commonly worked this one out yet. There is probably one somewhere, though.
Anyway, I thought we were allowed to use primary sources with caution? That is the reason for the article saying that it is the evidence of an enquiry witness, not just baldly stating it as a fact. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 20:44, 14 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think that is preferable for now. I have no real objections. Evidence is given under oath, after all. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:53, 14 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We have this source, The Times[2] which says that Vennells joined the Post Office as "network director" in 2007. Listening to the enquiry evidence, we learn that network director is the person in charge of the network of Post Offices. At around this time, also learnt from the enquiry hearings, we hear that the Post Office changed the terminology of their senior positions: Managing Director became CEO, for instance. It is possible, then, that "network director" transitioned into "COO" – or perhaps this was a promotion. It's hard to say. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 21:38, 14 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Separating resignation of pastoral duties from ordained status[edit]

In the first sentence it describes Vennells as an ordained minister. She is not an active minister, she has resigned all pastoral duties. The correct opening is probably "British former businesswoman who was the chief executive officer of Post Office Limited from 2012 to 2019. She is also an inactive Anglican priest." Or some such. Ain't nobody giving her a business or a parish right now. Guy (help! - typo?) 13:41, 6 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

No objections to adding the word "inactive". Martinevans123 (talk) 15:26, 6 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

2019 New Year Honours[edit]

Vennells was appointed CBE in the 2019 New Year Honours, as recommended by Prime Minister David Cameron. But officially the appointments are made by the monarch. Should Cameron be mentioned? His name does not appear in the Honours article. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:54, 21 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Wasn't it Theresa May rather than David Cameron? Southdevonian (talk) 09:22, 21 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Oh yes, it seems it was May But she is not mentioned in 2019 New Year Honours either. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:28, 21 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think it is particularly notable but I suppose something could go in along the lines of: She was nominated by BEIS and the nomination was supported by PM Theresa May in spite of reservations from a member of the honours committee due to the Horizon scandal. With a ref to The Telegraph article. Southdevonian (talk) 09:48, 21 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think that would be wholly appropriate. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:03, 21 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Is Vennells disgraced?[edit]

An editor and an IP address have objected to the use of the word "disgraced" in the opening sentence. Vennells is being referred to as disgraced in mainstream media, for example [3], [4], [5], [6], etc. Is there a problem with using the word here? Southdevonian (talk) 13:32, 25 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I think there is, since as yet there is no objective basis to it. She hasn’t been found at fault or guilty of anything (yet), and she gave up her honour voluntarily, or at least invited the relevant committee to take it back. Note that the print media is entitled to express its opinion, but is only an authoritative source for matters of fact (for example, it wouldn’t be appropriate to put some of the words they use to describe certain politicians straight into their BLP articles!). MapReader (talk) 13:41, 25 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you guys for starting this thread. My only concern is that we not use Wikipedia's voice, especially in a lead, to say something disparaging which isn't directly cited in the body. BusterD (talk) 14:03, 25 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for the above comments which are all very relevant. As MapReader comments, it would be wrong to use a pejorative term which has been used in a single, or indeed, several newspaper headline/s. However for this example, all the press covering the topic seem to have the same view, regardless of exactly which word is used by them. The London Gazette (which reports that Vennells was bringing the honours system into 'disrepute') is not a standard newspaper as it records facts, not opinion. Vennells was asked many more hard-hitting comments to which she agreed, or more often did not reply. Technically, as I have noted, the adjective should be 'disreputable', but at the start of an essay on Wikipedia, that would clearly be too strong. Regardless of one's personal views, what is 'notable' about Paula Vennells is as a 'businesswoman' alone, or just being a CEO of the Post Office, or being an Anglican priest. What makes her 'notable' is what she did, or did not do, as CEO of the Post Office. Vennells did admit that the Post Office is not as well-regarded as it had been previously. She also stated that she has not been able to find another job, both of which tend to indicate that her being 'disgraced' seems to be a general view. Personally I agree with some of the earlier comments on Wikipedia about her, but ... yes ... I do agree that they are not appropriate for Wikipedia. Localhistorian2024 (talk) 08:28, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
She was disgraced when she had to hand back her CBE. As can been seen from the WP:RS sources in the opening paragraph of this thread, it's not just "headlines". The Telegraph, Computer Weekly, The Guardian and The Sunday Times? And The London Gazette reports that Vennells brought the honours system into "disrepute". I think it's pretty clear. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:36, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agree totally (with Martinevans123). Localhistorian2024 (talk) 08:49, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Additionally, although not officially "defrocked", she has the added shame of being a "woman of the cloth". Martinevans123 (talk) 08:56, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think you necessarily have to have been convicted of a crime to be disgraced. But if people think the word is too strong in the first sentence how about something like "Paula Anne Vennells (born 21 February 1959) is a British businesswoman who, as CEO of Post Office Limited from 2012 to 2019, was at the centre of the British Post Office Scandal." Southdevonian (talk) 09:28, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, maybe the widely used and proportionate term "disgraced" could just be used in the main body. Or we'll be running out of kleenex. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:50, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I can only see that term appearing once in the article and that is in Wikipedia's voice the lead. Per WP:LEAD, the lead should summarise the main content in the article body and I don't see how the use of that word is currently justified by what the body currently contains.
WP:VOICE says, amongst other thing:
  • Avoid stating opinions as facts
  • Avoid stating seriously contested assertions as facts
  • Prefer nonjudgmental language
So which part of the article's body is that a summary of? Also, I cannot see any of the four sources mentioned in the original post cited anywhere in the article either. -- DeFacto (talk). 14:18, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, quite right, it belongs first in the main body, not necessarily in Wikipedia's voice, and with sources. There is then a separate question of whether it belongs in the lead section. Martinevans123 (talk) 14:22, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If we cannot justify putting it in Wiki's voice, then, if we feel it has due weight to include it at all, we need to gain a consensus on how to attribute that opinion, and whether, if there are alternative opinions, how to attribute them and how much weight to give them. -- DeFacto (talk). 14:32, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'd suggest "a number of mainstream media sources have described her as", or similar. Martinevans123 (talk) 14:39, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I haven't been following this discussion fully but I think she should not be described as disgraced in the first sentence. Her notability was initially as a businesswoman, not a disgraced one. The description of 'disgraced' in newspapers is primary, so should not be used as though it has passed through proper secondary independent vetting. Adding her status as a priest immediately after being described as 'disgraced' comes across as making a personal judgement of her character. Just my opinion FWIW.Roger 8 Roger (talk) 01:10, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think that's correct. "Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile ... was an English media personality and DJ." Sounds like a decent guy. Martinevans123 (talk) 07:56, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Protected edit request on 25 May 2024[edit]

On adding some text, I did not spot that I had made an error with the refs: <ref name=Fiveexec> needs to be changed to <ref name=Guardianexec> Thanks Southdevonian (talk) 14:24, 25 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

 Done * Pppery * it has begun... 15:15, 25 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Protected edit request on 25 May 2024 (2)[edit]

And a space after footnote 36 before sentence beginning "Vennells had submitted..." Another one I missed in preview - apologies Southdevonian (talk) 14:38, 25 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

 Done * Pppery * it has begun... 15:15, 25 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Protected edit request on 25 May 2024 (3)[edit]

The sentence "Admitting that she had given Members of Parliament incorrect information when she told them in 2012 that there had EEN no unsuccessful Horizon prosecutions, she said that the Post Office had known but she personally had not known." contains a typo where the word BEEN is spelled as EEN. The error is shown is capitals in the quote above. (talk) 15:35, 25 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

 Done * Pppery * it has begun... 15:55, 25 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Request change to references. References 23 and 27 appear to be the same. Would it be possible to merge them? Localhistorian2024 (talk) 09:07, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]


Can an admin get this out of the lead? Thanks. Tim O'Doherty (talk) 14:29, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Whether she is or not is being debated above, but regardless it should not be the sixth word in the article. Tim O'Doherty (talk) 14:49, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I make it the 10th. So not so bad, eh? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:57, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Brackets etc. Still. Not doing wonders for WP:NPOV. Tim O'Doherty (talk) 14:59, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
At least no-one's yet proposed a WP:RM to Disgraced Paula Vennells. But am surprised an admin hasn't taken this out yet. Martinevans123 (talk) 15:03, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Why? Or are you going to play the argument that she didn't have her CBE removed, she surrendered it first (and that's OK then). Andy Dingley (talk) 22:43, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No, I'm going to play the argument that it's blatantly biased, whatever you think of Vennells. Tim O'Doherty (talk) 22:52, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I removed the term but self reverted, as I had only seen this discussion and had not seen the above discussion or realized that the article had been protected over edit warring over the phrase. Even though I think the phrase goes against the spirit of BLP, I respect the protection and the discussion here. Moneytrees🏝️(Talk) 00:21, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It is simply biased. We never introduce a subject in this manner on Wikipedia. Doesn't matter whether they are a saint or a criminal. There's no room for POV pushing here. Keivan.fTalk 06:14, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So unsourced, unattributed and not reflecting the main body. Even Jimmy Savile doesn't get "disgraced" in his first sentence (but then I guess he died before that was possible). I'm surprised. Martinevans123 (talk) 07:59, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It's an unsourced and unattributed subjective opinion and not a summary of anything in the body of the article, so contravenes numerous Wiki policies, including WP:BLP, WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:NOR. -- DeFacto (talk). 08:52, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It's only 'unsourced' (there's a fuller discussion of this lower down the article) because it was protected and a citation couldn't be added. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:56, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, it was. I think we now have at least four good sources. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:58, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We always had good sources, just not citations directly in the lead (which we don't need, but that's an argument which seems to be being made here).
Yet you're still advocating that the disgraced Vennells shouldn't be described as such. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:56, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No, I'm still advocating that it should be in the main body, with attribution and sources. After that, I think there's a separate question over whether it should also be in the lead section, and how. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:01, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict)The lead should be a summary of the most important content in the article body, and that wasn't in the body, so shouldn't have been in the lead. -- DeFacto (talk). 13:04, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, I think we can all agree on that. The question is what should happen next? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:09, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Full Protection....[edit]

Where is the explanation for full protection until 29 May? Leaky caldron (talk) 20:43, 26 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Apparently it's to stop edit warring over a word in the opening sentence that violates at least four article policies, but is now stuck there. How very odd. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:01, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. I have attempted to convince the FP admin User:El C on their talk page but they are intransigent. Leaky caldron (talk) 09:26, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm tearin' up here, mate. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:29, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
At User talk:El_C#Paula Vennells - FP You had said: There is next to no current activity on the article or talk page (emphasis), which was plainly false. Please don't ping me here again. El_C 09:30, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
And btw, Martinevans123, before accepting at face value: there was no attempt to "convince" me substantively, because in that thread on my talk page, they simply stated declaratively that I disagree that the disruption meets the criteria for full protection with nothing to support that assertion. Now contrast that with my explanation that it was an edit war between like 8 users and that I count nearly 20 reverts in the 2 days alone prior to my full protection — how do you even engage in good faith when these points are ignored? El_C 09:47, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I counted only ten reverts in the 48 hours before full protection. The first four were when IP addresses inserted things along the lines of "liar, dishonest, lack of empathy..." which were removed quite quickly. The problematical "disgraced" was responsible for six reverts. I had opened a discussion on this page about it before the full protection. I think semi-protection would have been enough. Southdevonian (talk) 10:17, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The issue here is the version that's now been perm protected? Martinevans123 (talk) 10:22, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I count different, but doesn't matter. Unprotected and that concludes my role here for forever. A pleasure, I'm sure. El_C 10:24, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Bye forever. I'm sure Paula sends her regards. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:29, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Hilarious. El_C 10:31, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Glad you came back. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:33, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
My role as in administrative role, you don't need to go out of your way to be unpleasant. El_C 10:36, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
When did I directly complain about you, or your role? I was going out of my way to welcome you back. But if you want to conclude your role here forever, than that's your choice. I'm not driving you away. Thanks for unprotecting the article. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:44, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Sure, whatever. El_C 10:48, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The original semi-protection request would have fully taken care of the several IP and IP/new account edits seeking to describe Vennells' in derogatory language as well as the nascent use of the "disgraced" adjective. Full protection was not required. I'm content that sound argument has prevailed. Leaky caldron (talk) 11:24, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No. El_C 12:24, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

This thread sure doesn't shine any glory on participants, does it? If you guys really want to sysop yourselves, WP:RFA is thattaway. BusterD (talk) 12:36, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

It was only stuck there for two days, not the full four. Would have been worse if it had been the days Vennells actually gave evidence. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:42, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It is the sort of discussion that takes place probably hundreds of times a day. It isn't clear to me why not shining glory on participants has to do with wanting to be (or not) an Admin.? The fact is that there was not persistent disruption from extended confirmed accounts which is the benchmark for FP. The disruption was predominantly over one word and a couple of derogatory contributions by unregistered / new users. Semi protection (as originally requested) would have effectively combated the issue and allowed experienced editors to enhance the article in other non-disputed sections. Leaky caldron (talk) 13:21, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It's always nice to be considered for RFA. But probably "not on the horizon" for me. (Unless I can find a handy back door). Martinevans123 (talk) 13:24, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Wouldn't work for me. Like Vennells, I'd be too concerned about the petty politics, managing upwards and keeping my peer group happy! :‑D :D Leaky caldron (talk) 13:34, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Is there a problem with quoting victims' barristers?[edit]

I think it is okay to include a couple of quotes from Stein and Henry as reported by BBC and Guardian as long as they are balanced with Vennells' denials and a couple of quotes of her own "I loved the Post Office" etc. Thoughts? Southdevonian (talk) 12:15, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I think it's better saying what Vennells and the others claimed happened/didn't happen rather than the potshots levelled towards her. If the barristers say Vennells knew/didn't know something at a given point I might include that as it has some substance to it, but barristers just saying "no" or "that's rubbish" without anything behind it just comes off as biased. Tim O'Doherty (talk) 12:19, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Opening paragraph[edit]

It isn't appropriate for the first sentence of this article begin with "disgraced businesswoman". A search for "disgraced businessman" on wiki results in no biographies opening with that statement ([7]), and "disgraced businesswoman" brings up zero results ([8]). Similar issues are treated in a descriptive manner in articles such as Michelle Mone, Baroness Mone (PPE contract profiteering), Matt Ridley (chair of Northern Rock when it collapsed), Philip Green (parliament tried to get his honours revoked but they didn't have the support of a TV series), Elizabeth Holmes (huge fraudulent business) etc. I propose a factual addition to the opening paragraph along the lines of Rolf Harris's (various obituaries described him a "disgraced entertainer") which reads:

I suggest:

This would have the issue front and centre in a neutral manner without being emotive. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 12:24, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

We don't know her career is over - after all, there's always WMF. And I'm sure she's got a few cushy pensions anyway. Perhaps a few pennies in her "rainy day" savings account? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:04, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Has Mone been disgraced? She's still a peer. She still holds the honour that was awarded to her. Vennells does not. It was removed, cancelled, annulled and her name erased from the register. If a similar action was taken against Mone, then we might use the same phrasing.
The difference is NPOV: Wikipedia can (and should) report that persons who have been publicly disgraced are 'disgraced'. WP should not add this to those such as Mone (where many would argue that they ought to be disgraced, and where there are ongoing actions which might lead to that), but such things have not yet reached such a state. But when it has happened, as it has for Vennells, then it's right to report that. Andy Dingley (talk) 13:10, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Michelle Mone, Baroness Mone and husband have had their assets frozen by the CPS. Some might see that as somewhat of a disgrace. But she's still a Baroness, and will probably remain so, at least until after the general election, I suspect. Can one even be stripped of a Baronessy? Sorry to go off topic. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:17, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The removal of a peerage would require an Act of Parliament. She can be banned from HoL and all sorts of other opprobrium inflicted but the title remains. Leaky caldron (talk) 13:56, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
After reading the "Attendance in House of Lords" section in her article, I'm not sure a ban would make very much difference. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:30, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Removal of CBE: definitive reference[edit]

The King removed Vennells' CBE on 23 Feb 2024 as per this official notice [9]. I appreciate that this may already be mentioned above, but there is so much discussion of it that I cannot read it all to check.

If that is not evidence of "disgrace", tell me what is. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 16:30, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Why not go the whole hog? "Prince Andrew, Duke of York is a disgraced member of the British royal family", "Lucy Letby is a disgraced British former neonatal nurse", "Michelle Georgina Mone, Baroness Mone is a disgraced Scottish businesswoman", "Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a disgraced British politician and writer", etc. We could point to evidence for all of these (Prince Andrew stripped of his military titles and patronages, Letby being convicted, Mone having her assets frozen, Johnson becoming the first sitting PM to be punished for breaking the law/Committee of Privileges report) but we won't, because it's not for us to say. You'd have to stretch yourself to call me a fan of Vennells, but we cannot call her "disgraced", just as we can't call paedophiles, murderers, fraudsters, profiteers, liars and our other national villains "disgraced". We aren't a certain other PM. Tim O'Doherty (talk) 16:54, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
There is an article, List of revocations of appointments to orders and awarded decorations and medals of the United Kingdom, that you can check for all the other biographies of people stripped of honours, and not one of the begins with "is a disgraced [career]". It is noted in the introduction of this article that her CBE was taken from her; I added it myself. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk 17:23, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You forgot "Liz Truss is a disgraced former lettuce." Martinevans123 (talk) 17:29, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Former? Tim O'Doherty (talk) 17:38, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The removal / relinquishing of the honour is not, in itself, sufficient to describe her as disgraced. Obviously her role in the Horizon scandal is strongly suggestive of disgrace and there would not be many people (readers) who would object to seeing her described as a disgraced former business woman. However, the obstacle we have is the adjective itself. It is strongly suggestive of PoV, is therefore controversial and appears little used on WP. If articles can be identified that use disgraced in the way it might be used here, we would be in a more comfortable position to resist challenge. Maybe in 2 years time when Sir Wyn produces his report into the Horizon scandal there may be more weight? There is no rush. Leaky caldron (talk) 17:54, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It's not as if any criminal charges have yet been brought, against anyone. During the next two years, if she ends up in Holloway, people may feel different. Although we'll probably have to wait for publication of the report before any charges are even considered? Martinevans123 (talk) 18:37, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Using the List of revocations of appointments to orders and awarded decorations and medals of the United Kingdom given above, it seems that biographies often do mention the failings of subjects of articles at an early stage.
Rolf Harris: conviction of sexual assault of underage girls in first para/third sentence;
Jim Speechley: stripped of CBE for misconduct in a public office in first para/second sentence;
Freddie Emery-Wallis: over half this stub article is about his "spectacular fall from grace";
Vidkun Quisling: "Nazi collaborator" in first sentence (which is arguably worse than "disgraced");
etc., etc.
All we are really lacking is a good RS for "disgraced" – which will surely come in time – and then the word should appear early in the lead, since it will be the defining characteristic that makes this article subject notable. To be clear, the reason for choosing the word "disgraced" is that we need something that encapsulates a quite complex set of failings in summary form. Those failings are currently being revealed. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 19:45, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree. I think the word "disgraced" would first need to appear, probably with attribution, in the main body. If you are seeking good RS, there are four listed by Southdevonian at the start of the thread named "Is Vennells disgraced?" above. Thanks Martinevans123 (talk) 20:06, 27 May 2024 (UTC) p.s. seems word gets about.[reply]
I don't think we should be trying to judge her ourselves, or parroting how specific sources choose to judge her, I think we should be providing just the best NPOV version of the pertinent facts of the topic that we can source and leave our readers to draw their own conclusions based on those. -- DeFacto (talk). 20:44, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree with the view in the linked edit to Robert Durst that the word "disgraced" is necessarily unsuitable for use in a Wikipedia article. Taking the Collins dictionary definition "You use disgraced to describe someone whose bad behaviour has caused them to lose the approval and respect of the public or of people in authority." I think we can reasonably conclude that this is a factual description of what has happened to Vennells. Is anyone putting forward the idea that she has not lost "the approval and respect of the public or of people in authority"? (Petition to revoke CBE plus the act of doing so.) The evidence that this is due to "bad behaviour" is from the comments of made about the Post Office in court.
In short, in this case, "disgraced" is a factual description, not a subjective opinion. That might not apply about the usage elsewhere in Wikipedia, but it seems a pretty clear-cut case here. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 20:51, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Disgraced" is subjective, not factual, if its definition relies on the application of the subjective word "bad". -- DeFacto (talk). 21:20, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
During the case, the Post Office's conduct under Vennells's leadership was described as an instance of "appalling and shameful behaviour" – the evidence is in the article, from a judge (someone who makes a living out of judging people?). How bad does someone have to be to meet your criteria? In simple descriptive English, "disgraced" is surely the best word to use.
Without the Post Office scandal, I do not see that Vennells' article would easily meet notability standards – I suppose the CBE would have made it squeak through. But the article's edit history makes clear that the Post Office scandal easily makes her notable. In that context, it seems that Wikipedia wants to bowdlerise the story. I appreciate that care needs to be taken with biographies of living persons, but with plenty of MSM sources using "disgraced" I do not think that Wikipedia is going to get sued (the driving force behind BLP). I just see this as an attempt to destroy normal English usage for no good purpose. We are trying to make a better encyclopaedia here, but pussy-footing around a word that has a clear dictionary definition to support it does not seem to achieve that job. I am sorry to be expressing this so strongly, but that is how I feel. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 21:59, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So "the Post Office's conduct" then, and not necessarily that of Vennells herself? Give the bare and supportable facts of the topic and let the readers draw their own conclusions. -- DeFacto (talk). 22:08, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
...under Vennells's leadership.... This fits perfectly with the idea that the lead summarises the article, with "disgraced" covering (per the dictionary definition) the sum of various parts of the article. I suspect (though obviously do not know) that resistance to the word "disgraced" is due to some editors having a different understanding of the word. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 08:10, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That is not only asserting a subjective opinion as fact, but is also relying on the unsupported assertion of complicity. -- DeFacto (talk). 08:35, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
"Complicity"? i.e. that the company and it's CEO knew what each other were doing? That does actually happen in some companies, you know? Martinevans123 (talk) 11:11, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Do we have sources that support it happening here though? -- DeFacto (talk). 18:47, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps the CBE was formally revoked just because of her incompetence, what do you think? Either way the revocation meant she was disgraced. That's just a prime example of being disgraced. Her disgrace was not in any way ameliorated during her three days of giving evidence to the inquiry. If anything, it deepened. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:53, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Do we know why it was revoked? If it was because of an ill-founded outcry, perhaps based on fake news on social media, for example, then no, it wouldn't mean she was disgraced, quite the contrary in fact. -- DeFacto (talk). 19:49, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You are actually suggesting that the Post Office Horizon Scandal, and Vennell's part in it, has involved "fake news on social media" and that this was why it may have been revoked? Wow. And I had thought you were scrapping the bottom of the argument barrel here some weeks ago. Martinevans123 (talk) 10:42, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No, I'm not suggesting that at all. I gave that as a hypothetical example of a reason that would not imply disgrace.
Now one for you... Are you suggesting that everyone who signed the petition was fully aware that the TV drama was not a validated and fully fact-checked account of everything relevant to the scandal, and of all the historical facts surrounding the scandal and of all the good works that Vennells had done, and that they genuinely believed beyond all reasonable doubt that, on balance, she didn't deserve the gong? -- DeFacto (talk). 14:52, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Could we focus on real examples, not hypothetical one? Vennells could have been found to have been suffering from a severe mental illness, the nature of which could not be made public because of patient confidentiality. But that's entirely hypothetical. So it's a waste of timing inventing it? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:58, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Ah yes, all the overlooked "good works" might have exonerated her, mightn't they. Another hypothetical. Martinevans123 (talk) 15:00, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
DeFacto, those four sources look pretty strong to me. How many more would you want? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:54, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If those four aren't enough, there's also Oxford Mail, Evening Standard, STV News, Yahoo News, Daily Express, Irish News, Worcester News, etc. etc.. That last one is quite interesting, as it quotes the Bishop of Worcester, John Inge: "The Bishop of Worcester has said it "sticks in the gullet" that he was criticised by disgraced former Post Office boss Paula Vennells." Martinevans123 (talk) 08:52, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
A bunch of cherry-picked unreliable headlines from a mixture of tabloids and deprecated generally unreliable sources does not help us support the assertion in Wiki's voice, as if a fact, of a subjective opinion. -- DeFacto (talk). 09:06, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Which of those sources are deprecated? Southdevonian (talk) 09:28, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Good point, I was thinking of the Daily Express, but checking I see Daily Express is labelled as "generally unreliable", but not as "deprecated". I've corrected my comment above. Thanks. -- DeFacto (talk). 09:50, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So you're claiming all those sources are either "tabloids" or "generally unreliable"? Martinevans123 (talk) 09:55, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No, I'm saying that sources that are deemed unreliable, generally unreliable, or that use tabloid journalism cannot help us here. -- DeFacto (talk). 10:14, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Then I'll say I don't intend to use the Daily Mail, although they don't use the d-word. they just call her "the shamed 65-year-old" Martinevans123 (talk) 10:39, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Why are any of those "unreliable"? And when did I ever suggest adding this word "in Wiki's voice"? Martinevans123 (talk) 09:37, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
WP:HEADLINES says: News headlines—including subheadlines—are not a reliable source, and the word "disgraced" only appears in the headlines (and not the article body) of most of those sources.
This section is about whether we can say she was "disgraced", and that implies saying it in Wiki's voice. -- DeFacto (talk). 10:01, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The Times seems quite relaxed about using the "disgraced" label for Vennells. See [10][11][12], etc. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 10:04, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
..."disgraced"... implies saying it in Wiki's voice. I find this argument strange. The word "disgraced" is a fair summary of what the article says. There are plenty of RSs that also use the word. It is not like we are introducing a new concept or fact – it's just a word that sums up the situation described in the article particularly well. Whatever happened to summary style and paraphrasing? ThoughtIdRetired TIR 10:12, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The problem is that it is a subjective opinion and not an incontrovertible fact, and WP:VOICE says:
  • Avoid stating opinions as facts
  • Avoid stating seriously contested assertions as facts
  • Prefer nonjudgmental language
So we cannot say that she is disgraced. We might be able to say that journalist A and journalist B concluded from [whatever they are discussing in their articles] that she has been disgraced. But we need to ensure WP:BLP, WP:V, WP:NPOV compliance in terms of attribution, accuracy, tone, etc. -- DeFacto (talk). 10:23, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Quite amusing this: we have DeFacto's subjective opinion that "disgraced" is a subjective opinion and not an incontrovertible fact. The dictionary definition provides what is needed for this label and the facts reported in the article meet the requirements of that definition. Quite simply Vennells once had a respected status with important jobs (cabinet office, etc.) and now she does not because of the outcry at her role in the scandal (e.g. vote to have CBE removed and the fact that it was.) Do you dispute these facts? Do you think they do not meet the dictionary definition of "disgraced"? What has happened to: Uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources should normally be directly stated in Wikipedia's voice (from WP:VOICE)? Who is contesting the view that Vennells is disgraced? (I have checked the Church Times on this, as a likely supporter of her, and whilst they do not use the term "disgraced" themselves, they are quite happy to publish a letter that applies that label to Vennells[13]. From this I think we can conclude that nobody is avoiding the term.) ThoughtIdRetired TIR 10:39, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Was that the "outcry at her role" or was it really the "outcry based on the social media and news media portrayal of her role"?
I don't think we yet truly know what her role in the scandal was, or how culpable, or not, she actually was. And as we don't have any relevant uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources that would support using "disgraced" in Wiki's voice, we have nothing that should normally be directly stated in Wikipedia's voice. Or can you point out what in the article qualifies as such? -- DeFacto (talk). 19:12, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Her CBE was formally revoked. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:20, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That's not necessarily her disgrace though, that surely depends on why it was revoked. -- DeFacto (talk). 19:53, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think not. I'd argue that revocation is disgrace enough. But there are other aspects that are detailed elsewhere on this page as well. If you've missed all the news over the past few years, however, the Oxford Mail provides a handy explanation here under: "Paula Vennells - from Oxford to disgraced Post Office chief". Martinevans123 (talk) 08:56, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So, DeFacto, your opinion is that "cancelled, annulled and her name erased from the register." (London Gazette) does not equate to 'disgraced'? It's the tired old WP argument "if a synonym is used, that's not a source" again? She was once honoured. If that honour is removed, that is dishonourable. I would be happy to use "dishonoured" here rather than "disgraced", although it seems a clumsier choice of phrasing. She was given an honour nominally by the grace of the sovereign. If that honour is removed, that is now a literal disgracing. We can absolutely source this (quote above, and the London Gazette is the canon source for such things) and the only wiggle room is that the LG wording does not equate to "disgrace". Which is a very sophist claim to try and make. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:01, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I would back this argument. It is coherent and defensible. We have to get the issue over the line and while there is no rush and the inquiry outcome could product further support for it, the case is fairly compelling as of now. Leaky caldron (talk) 11:53, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
This is nothing to do with synonyms, it's to do with with WP:BLP, WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:NOR.
It is because I don't think we have appropriate uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources to support it being summarised or paraphrased as the subjective adjective "disgraced".
Do we reliably know the precise reason why the honour was revoked, for example? -- DeFacto (talk). 19:28, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We don't need to know. That's their concern. We don't need to analyse RS sources, we just have to report them. You're just inventing new policy here. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:32, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So if we don't know, we cannot assume the reason. If the reason isn't given we do not know it. The best we can say in that case is that it was revoked., but not try and second-guess the reasons. -- DeFacto (talk). 19:57, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It looks like there was a petition ( resulting in her relinquishing the honour. The London Gazette simply reports that "THE KING has directed that the appointment of Paula Anne VENNELLS to be a Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, dated 29 December 2018, shall be cancelled and annulled and that her name shall be erased from the Register of the said Order". Leaky caldron (talk) 20:16, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
So, just to be clear. The honours committee gave no clear reason exactly why the CBE was annulled. But before we can simply say in this article that Vennells has been disgraced, because of this annulment, as reported in many RS sources, we have to work out for ourselves, what the exact reason was? Wow. What was that Edward Henry KC said last week? Martinevans123 (talk) 22:05, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The facts would bear that interpretation I suppose. Looking at other reported defenestrations, they all involve malfeasance in business / office but specific reasons are not given. The petitioner's provides greater detail of course but would not be a RS, I suspect. Leaky caldron (talk) 06:35, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If we don't know why it was annulled how can we draw that conclusion in Wiki's voice?
Sure, if we have a secondary source reporting on how the news media are reporting it that way, then we could use that to support something on it in the article. -- DeFacto (talk). 22:32, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I have never suggested adding something in Wiki's voice. I've said this several times now. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:50, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
(edit conflict)Unfortunately the topic subject and related source material has become spread across several sections, not helped by the unnecessary and disruptive full protection over 2 days. It becomes difficult for all interested editors to stay across discussions which are fragmented in this way. Leaky caldron (talk) 20:53, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Can't see any easy way round that. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:55, 27 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The only thing unnecessary and disruptive is how you challenged that. And continue to, endlessly. Maybe stop? El_C 01:08, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Would this angle have any traction? - She wasn't disgraced as a person but as a CEO. Therefore, it was the Post Office that did all this malpractice and was disgraced (and was punished for it). As a CEO she benefits from no personal liability, which includes being labelled disgraceful. If anyone can call her disgraced it is the Post Office, which won't happen. I am sure if the Post Office had consistently lost millions of shareholders' money under her tenure before sacking her, it would be the Post Office, or the board of directors, whom the media would call disgraceful, not the CEO. Did she do anything criminally wrong to make her personally liable (note - Trump)? Roger 8 Roger (talk) 09:45, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We might have to wait quite a while to get an answer to the criminality question. Although she was advised not to incriminate herself at the inquiry? CEO "benefits" don't look that attractive to me. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:48, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
(1) I think we need to be careful of the language here. Vennells is "disgraced", as is evidenced by her change in status (removal of CBE, obliged to resign various posts). I do not think we can describe her as "disgraceful" as that is something different and is actually derogatory. You may be disgraced by showing disgraceful conduct (whether momentary or continuous), but if you are described as "disgraceful" that suggests being continuously in that state, which does not necessarily apply to anyone who is fairly described as "disgraced".
(2) In considering whether Vennells was disgraced as a person, consider the question raised (and reported in a number of sources) as to whether or not she was a "fit and proper person" for her board position in the NHS.ThoughtIdRetired TIR 10:28, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I agree, my careless mistake - I meant disgraced, as in the media, not disgraceful. I'm not as au fait about the NHS, or the legal status of Post Office Ltd either, as I should be, but regarding a normal company subject to normal company law, she was an incompetent CEO, not a criminal with personal liability so IMO the buck stops with the directors for not dealing with her earlier. That makes her different from people like Savile. It looks as though her standing down from other positions is simply because her positions there are untenable, due to the public witch-hunt fuelled by the media. Those other bodies in which she held positions of authority, eg the Church of England, could not afford to keep her to avoid similar bad publicity. I note they advised her to stand down, not sack her, presumably because she'd down nothing wrong except being an incompetent CEO. But, as I said, I'm not fully aware of all the details so I might be missing something obvious. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 19:30, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Noted. The complexities of this case go far beyond the duties of the CEO of an ordinary company, because the Post Office acted as prosecutor (i.e. what the Crown Prosecution Service usually does). It is probably wrong to go into more detail on that here, as a lot of that is what might happen, but we do know that that a significant number of persons convicted as a result of Post Office prosecutions have now been exonerated. So it is already outside the boundaries of what could happen in a normal company and may well get a lot worse. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 21:14, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
To add to that, if her position in other posts becomes untenable, then that is the process of becoming disgraced. The dictionary definition does not say that the process has to be fair and correct – it is just the process of ceasing to have good standing. Being unacceptable to continue in a senior management position is part of that process. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 21:19, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]


There appears to be a consensus for the inclusion of a form of what some might call a factually accurate disparaging reference to Vennells', provided that it is reliably sourced and forms part of the relevant section of the article before inserting into the lead. The discussion since the 2 day hiatus on editing the article has clarified the various views and options. Is it now time to agree between interested editors a suitable amendment to the article and lead? Leaky caldron (talk) 16:54, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

So let's try and agree an article main body addition first? Not contingent on also having a lead statement? Martinevans123 (talk) 16:57, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It’s not up to WP articles to offer disparaging commentary in editorial voice. The cited facts should speak for themselves. MapReader (talk) 17:06, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
What if multiple WP:RS sources offer "disparaging commentary"? We have to pretend it doesn't exist? Martinevans123 (talk) 17:10, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Describing someone as a mass murderer is disparaging. We do that, provided it is supported by RS. Maybe those opposed could try to imagine this as less of a nasty thing to describe someone and more of a widely held commentary supported by sources? Leaky caldron (talk) 17:15, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
My first instinct is to look up “disgraced” and “disparaging” in a dictionary. In my mind that resolves the question you ask. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 18:27, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
As "disgraced" relies on a subjective opinion, we cannot put it in Wiki's voice, we need to attribute it. How does that resolve it? -- DeFacto (talk). 20:09, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
To help with this, I think we first need a list from the article of the reliably sourced "bad behaviours" that can fairly and squarely be said to have been her fault. Then we can decide how to summarise them. Can anyone provide that please? -- DeFacto (talk). 19:42, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You're the only one asking for it. You're the only one who thinks it would be "helpful". It looks like you're just dreaming up obstacles to stop it being added into the article, as per reports by RS sources. This kind of analysis would be complete and utter WP:OR. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:52, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
We need to summarise something. If we do not know what, how can we summarise it? -- DeFacto (talk). 20:06, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry? We need to summarise something so we can summarise it? Then please go ahead. And we can all judge if it's WP:SYNTH or not. Thanks Martinevans123 (talk) 20:14, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If we plan to add a disparaging sentence about Vennells in the lead, surely we need to agree which are the bad things that we need to consider when formulating that. Currently all we seem to have is that, because her honour was revoked she must have done something bad. Isn't there anything more concrete? -- DeFacto (talk). 22:38, 28 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm proposing that something is added in the main body. I've said this several times now. I really don't see why we have to justify "something disparaging" if it's been widely reported. Martinevans123 (talk) 06:47, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
There is background to the 1.2m petition here, including quotes from Vennells' herself. The site is deprecated by WP for some reason and cannot be linked. "". Leaky caldron (talk) 08:05, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes. that's 1.2 million people who signed to say that Vennells ought to be stripped of her CBE. But we still have one person here, on this Talk page, who thinks it might hypothetically have all been a terrible mistake, perhaps because of "fake news". Goodness me. Martinevans123 (talk) 13:15, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I suggest that Vennells' disgrace, at this stage, is simply "because of her association with the Post Office Scandal". That is an inescapable conclusion from reading any and (possibly) all of the RSs that cover the subject, especially those which deal with the removal of the CBE. There may well be an RS that is totally specific on the point. I don't think we need any more detail on what that "association" is at this stage, but the article already covers much of the ongoing enquiry to allow the reader to gain a clue as to what that detail may be. It is worth noting that there is more to Vennells' disgrace than just removal of the CBE – we have the various other roles from which she was compelled to withdraw (Morrisons, Cabinet Office, NHS Trust chair, etc.). Incidentally, if you want a source that covers the Care Quality Commission querying whether or not Vennells has been properly assessed as a fit and proper person for her NHS role, here is a link[14]. ThoughtIdRetired TIR 08:14, 29 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]


Specifically in the second sentence in the first paragraph in the Paula Vennells#Post Office scandal section, which says: In addition, over 2,000 subpostmasters were forced to pay the Post Office for Horizon errors or had their contracts terminated.

I assume that after numerous edits and rearrangements of content, some of the sources have been lost or moved within the text, so rather than me re-tagging stuff which is likely already covered in a source somewhere, can we please identify from which source, and with the applicable quote, the support for each of the following:

And, to add context, it would be useful to know:

I think, especially as this is a BLP, that verification should be made easy. -- DeFacto (talk). 14:35, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Doesn't your mind's eye also include the application of thumbscrews and electrodes? No waterboarding? I'm surprised. You'll probably be wanting sources to support those. Or perhaps just the serial numbers of the court orders? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:40, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The Guardian article says: "In total, about 3,500 branch owner-operators were wrongly accused of taking money from their businesses, with more than 900 prosecuted by the Post Office despite protesting their innocence and raising issues with the software in their defence...Even those who did not go to court had to drum up money to cover nonexistent shortfalls." We are allowed to do simple arithmetic without straying into original research territory. It is not necessary in this article to go into more detail about methods of enforcement, but I think they included threat of prosecution, threat of contract termination, deduction from wages, etc, and yes - court confiscation orders. These facts and figures are not controversial or contested. Southdevonian (talk) 15:09, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Well yes, I guess 3,500 is more than 2,000. British Post Office scandal says: "By 15 January 2024 the scheme had received 2,753 eligible claims and paid out £93 million to over 2,172 claimants." Maybe that gives a better idea of the scale of the scandal. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:16, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The 3,500 in The Guardian is total number. You have to subtract the 900 prosecutions to get the over 2000 "in addition" people in the article. That is, in addition to those who were prosecuted. The schemes are complicated and probably better not to get into them in this article. The figure you quote is for the Horizon shortfall scheme, that is people who were not convicted and did not take part in the group action. Convicted and group action people have their own schemes. The figures are inevitably approximate as more people are coming forward and also mainstream media don't always distinguish between prosecutions and convictions, or between PO prosecutions and other prosecutions. Southdevonian (talk) 17:32, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That seems perfectly fair to me. Would "obliged to pay" be better than "forced to pay"? It seems some editor(s) might think the word "forced" will seen as having connotations of forced labour or something. I guess subpostmasters felt they "had to" dip into to their own pockets to avoid being investigated and taken to court by their employer? But those decisions were all subjective choices, which can never leave a trail of objective factual evidence. Martinevans123 (talk) 17:40, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, some chose to pay to avoid investigation, suspension and prosecution (not much of a free choice) but others had the money deducted from their wages when they had a discrepancy. BBC, Guardian and others use "forced" [15] [16] [17]. Southdevonian (talk) 18:05, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Again, that looks perfectly fair to me. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:13, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Southdevonian, thanks for the number clarification. I agree that arithmetic is allowed, so long as it is fairly obvious what to add and what to subtract. I can't see "forced" supported though. It seems like a clearer, more impartial, more measured, and better supported wording of that sentence would be something like:
2,000 other subpostmasters who were alleged to have a shortfall were given the option of paying off the shortfall or facing prosecution and/or contract termination.
Does that sound reasonable? -- DeFacto (talk). 18:18, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sure some of them just paid it to stop being given any choice, i.e. to stop it even coming to light. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:23, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I've been bold and tweaked the article to avoid the misleading "forced to" and "had to". -- DeFacto (talk). 21:05, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It now says "Over 2,000 other subpostmasters had the option of paying off their alleged shortfalls to avoid prosecution, contract termination, or any other sanctions." How is that supported by the sources? Feel free to provide direct quotes. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:07, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, I should have said "chose the option", which I correctly put in the lead. -- DeFacto (talk). 21:14, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
How about answering the question? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:28, 30 May 2024 (UTC) p.s. or don't bother, as it's already now been corrected.[reply]
I thought I had answered the question, or don't you think these took up that option? They had the choice: pay up or risk sanctions. -- DeFacto (talk). 22:43, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I wasn't convinced that your version was adequately supported by those two sources. But we have now moved on anyway. My main point was that it wasn't a simple dichotomy of choice - some subpostmasters balanced the books at the end of the day assuming they had made mistakes. The Post Office may have never been unaware of these people. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:43, 31 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Still confused

Following Southdevonian's most recent edit, we now have Many more paid the Post Office for alleged shortfalls or had their contracts terminated in the lead and ... over 2,000 subpostmasters paid for shortfalls caused by Horizon and many had their contracts terminated in the body.

There are gaps in that though. What happened to those who did not pay? Did any of those who paid also lose their contract? Which of these statements are true?:

  1. The 2,000 includes those who paid and those who did not
  2. The 2,000 includes those who kept their contracts and those who lost them
  3. Those who paid kept their contracts
  4. Those who did not pay lost their contracts

We need to present a clear, unambiguous and coherent account, and I don't think that is currently the case. -- DeFacto (talk). 08:26, 31 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Doesn't anyone know? I propose removing this ambiguous content then. -- DeFacto (talk). 19:50, 4 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]
When you say "there are gaps", do you mean there are gaps in the material in the sources? I'm not sure it's our job to undertake WP:OR to fill any gaps. Editors are expected to just reflect what any WP:RS reports? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:01, 4 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]
If what we write (and of course it needs to be fully supported by the sources) does not allow us to answer those questions I posed, then it is gobbledygook, and worthless to the article. -- DeFacto (talk). 20:07, 4 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You're saying that, even if the content of the WP:RS sources is fairly reflected in the article, but your questions are not answered, then what was in the original sources is "gobbledygook, and worthless to the article." That's quite a radical claim. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:12, 4 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that what we have, so far, is not good enough for readers to understand the situation as it leaves unanswered questions. So it needs improving. -- DeFacto (talk). 08:25, 5 June 2024 (UTC)[reply]


The Manchester Evening News here and the Evening Standard here both say she was born in Denton. So I think this should be added. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:52, 30 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Also Yahoo News here. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 08:47, 31 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]

I don't think anyone could object, as it already says she grew up in Denton, so not a big change. Southdevonian (talk) 09:42, 31 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]
As noted above, FreeBMD just shows that her birth was registered in "Manchester" district. But that source is not considered RS anyway. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:59, 31 May 2024 (UTC)[reply]