Wikipedia Talk Page: Assisted Suicide

Today we live in a world where no human beings are immortal–– (at least we have not created such technology that makes us live forever), we all face Death––some sooner than others. In some cases humans have the need to find an easy exit for their struggles, because they are either suffering physically or emotionally that he/she have the need to practice an assisted suicide.  According to, it is defined as helping a person to end his or her life request. It is a very controversial topic, because some individuals see it as an act of murder, while others believe it is a person’s choice, he/she should have the freedom to choose to live or not to live. On the talk page of Wikipedia of assisted suicide, I was intrigued by the comments of certain users. And, I also found people on the talk page working in collaboration to express their ideas to make the topic more precise and clear for other people to understand. Though most people on the talk page relied on logic/opinions and pathos (emotion), the most effective strategy was when the arguers use of creditable online sources with their rhetorical claims. 

 An effective strategy that was used convince others of what they must add on the assisted suicide talk page was by the use of creditable online sources.  A conversation from the talk page of A Bom Nible (talk) and Whpq (talk), in which I will refer to Nible, and Whpq. Whpq wants to add his/her own research in the discussion with an outside link to what he thinks should be included to the talk page. Whpq believes his/her own research should be included in the talk page because it provides useful information to the assisted suicide talk page with reliable sources. Whpq wants to merge his/her own research to the Wikipedia page, but he/she is not quite sure and asks for advice. Whpq wants to add an article of Aid in Dying to the talk page in where:

The state of Washington now has a “physician aided dying” initiative being considered by voters, and the term has also been accepted in the medical community more broadly than in the state of Oregon. (The American Medical Student AssociationAmerican Medical Women’s Association,Washington State Psychological AssociationAmerican College of Legal MedicineAmerican Public Health Association, and American Acacemy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine have all made official decisions to include the term in their lexicon, in contrast to the term “suicide.”  

Whpq method of creditable sources is the most effective strategy in the talk page. Whpq uses medical associations to back up his/her research, and he/she is also being smart by asking his audience if they think it is a good idea to include this on the Wikipedia page. He/she knows who his/her intended audience is, which are people who are going to be judgmental about his research. By asking for permission he/she makes the audience easily side with his/her claims. If Whpq would have just edited without asking for advice, then most likely it would be deleted from the Wikipedia page. So, by choosing the talk page Whpq gets an idea of what the audience is going to think, and that way he/she can persuade the arguers to believe that his research is worthwhile and essential for the Wikipedia talk page. 

 Another method besides creditable sources, is the use is the use of logic. In reply to Whpq, Nible comes along and gets in the conversation and tries to show logic to be against Whypq research. Nible believes the term of aid in dying is not correcting used by which he says:

The word suicide by itself means just that: sui-cide, inducing one’s own death. Whether this act is rational or not, or what feelings it may evoke, is not implied by this term. (Nor are all suicides of not terminally ill individuals irrational or caused by mental disorders.) 

Nible’s method is quite ineffective and does not go no where in the talk page. He does not use no evidence and is biased against the word suicide. He should remain neutral in the talk page, that is the purpose of Wikipedia. 

Also, another user “Lea”, solely relies on the use own logic and opinions when she claims:

Who are the suicide researchers really? Why are they researching so much, but never uttering a word of sentiment? Where are they? Who are they? What are their “respects”? What are their definite current affiliation? Are they fit to do suicide research? Is there integrity in place for the research to be conducted properly? LFOlsnes-Lea (talk

Lea is trying to use her own reasoning to try to question how ethical the research might be? She is trying to explain that these people are not put through lie detectors and therefore, should we believe what the suicide researchers have to share. Should we have the ability to trust them. Although, her argument seems to be a legit and worth noting, the technique of logic is ultimately ineffective. It fails, because her logic and opinions are not enough to prove her reasonings. Lea’s argument of passive logic would be effective if Lea had taken the time to find creditable resources to back up her claim. 

 Later, Jonathanfu (talk) comes along that claims,  “Wikipedia is not here to provide discussion, but information.” Jonathanfu comes in harshly and tells Lea to refrain from using her own personal soapbox. If Lea was not suggesting changes with reliable outside sources and claims, then she ineffectively failed to bring her logic in the talk page according to Wikipedia:Five pillars. One of the five pillars criteria is that is should be written from a neutral stand point. Lea fails to be neutral and therefore, it is not effective. 

 Another method that people relied on the talk page was the use of pathos. Pathos is the appealing to the audience emotions. User number claims:

3 days before Christmas (Christian ethics now redefined?):

Charicaturely, over those who fake the ethical commitment, we get:

Tacitly: Torture more, torture more! *drool* – *drool* – (I can’t help myself.

Explicitly: Stop the suicides, stop the suicides, suicide prevention now! And do support human rights too! (I don’t have any suicide-candidate acquaintance, but do you care? They’re all gone, aren’t they?)

This user clearly tries to bring emotion into his/her argument and even decides to include a sad face in the talk page. He/she wants to let the reader know that is act is wrong in society and that these suicides need to stop. He/she is totally against this and believes in human rights. He/she is using a powerful tool to try to get into my emotions when she mentions religion. These emotions easily grab my attention and may touch my feelings, but his/her passion on the subject is not enough to cause any feelings in my actions or believes. Yes, I get the feeling that it is wrong, but it is not strong enough for change my views. I need evidence and sources in order for that to happen. His/her passion on the subject is ultimately, an ineffective method. 

Overall, Wikipedia is used by over millions of users daily and that is a million of thoughts going on a single page. It is a high thriving page that can evoke feelings, biases, persuasion but all have to achieve a level of neutrality. Writers, often seem to feel stronger about communication when there is facts in their writing to back up his/her claims. Naturally, we are humans and we can also communicate through the use of emotions and ideas that we may feel about a certain topic. Sometimes, having passion of that certain subject can be effective and other times it is completely useless depending on the audience. From assisted suicide to animal rights, all the conversations are worked out through talk pages, whether the method was found to be effective or ineffective. 



Humphry, Derek. “Definitions of Euthanasia – Assisted Suicide.” Definitions of Euthanasia – Assisted Suicide. ERGO, 19 Jan. 2006. Web. 14 Oct. 2013.

“Talk:Assisted Suicide.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10 June 2013. Web. 14 Oct. 2013.


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