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Too broad definition[edit]

"An informant is a person who provides privileged information about a person or organization to an agency."

"...Any citizen who aids an investigation by offering helpful information to the police is by definition an informant.[citation needed]"

I think the police distinguishes between regular sources (or tips), who can be any person reporting in some kind of information (including suspects 'snitching'), and informants, who are sources with an established relation over time with a police officer or organization (paid or unpaid)and who are pro-actively steered (by the police) in direction of specific information. There are of course overlaps, but at least the distinction should be mentioned. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alenepaagata (talkcontribs) 08:46, 28 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Citation needed for what?[edit]

Why is a citation needed to support the obvious fact that informants are ostrasized, beaten, and killed? It's happens as often and as obviously as when the wind changes direction and ought to be considered common knowledge. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:20, 13 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I agree. No need for citation there. *removing it* --RubenSibon (talk) 23:23, 6 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]

famous informants[edit]

I removed a bunch of redlinks, which appeared to be teenagers and others playing jokes on their friends by listing their names here. Any unlikely redlinks found in this list should be removed. --Xyzzyplugh 14:34, 19 September 2006 (UTC)[reply]

John Kolevski is an famous informant. this is NOT a joke.

Jan Kvalen should be added to the famous informants section. He was revealed by Norwegian media to have been a police informant when he was a kingpin of the criminal underworld of Norway in the 1980's and 1990's. This is also stated on the Norwegian Wikipedia page about Jan Kvalen. It was first revealed by Norwegian Tv2 on a popular TV-show called "Rikets tilstand: Rettssikkerhet – politiets informanter", which was aired 30. September 1999. The story also made the front page of the biggest newspapers in Norway, and is arguably the biggest scandal for the Police Department of Oslo for the last decades. Links in Norwegian for verification: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tullerusk (talkcontribs) 10:33, 25 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

False convictions due to informants[edit]

The article should discuss the continuing problem of informants facing jail time who intentionally provide false information in exchange for reduced sentences or even complete immunity. Their are many cases of people wrongfully convicted based on false info from informants. --Cab88 14:49, 20 November 2006 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with Cab88 on this issue. Many people are being convicted or accused of crimes they normally would not have committed without the help of the informants contacting them and getting them involved to save their own butts. If they do the crime they should also do the time. It is unfair for others to go down for things that would not have happened without the help of the informants. Innocent familes are being ripped apart when they dont need to be. Informants should just do their time and leave people alone. pepsipepperPepsipepper 03:40, 18 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Famous Informants[edit]

Are 50 Cent and Jackie Chan really informants? Their respective articles don't seem to mention that fact. Iain marcuson 01:51, 5 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]

50 cent is not an informant. The Game (rapper) accussed him of being an snitch , therfore the game fans wrote he is an informant.

Okay, I've removed him and a couple of other bogus names from the list. Wdfarmer 00:50, 4 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Anthropological Research and Use of Informants[edit]

I could see the use in adding some content dealing with the social sciences (esp Anthropology) and their use of key and casual informants as a part of the reseach process. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:38, 7 April 2007 (UTC).[reply]

I agree completely, although this remark seems to have gone unnoticed since 2007. Does anyone oppose to this change? It might mean that we would have to restructure the article, though, because criminal informant would be 'reduced' to a category of a more general term rather than the only thing it refers to... What do you say? --Jeroenm (talk) 15:27, 19 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
From a related discipline I agree, but the changes called for seem to have been implemented in the past seven years. I have made some changes that I believe will be helpful, though; see my comment below, #Other meanings. --Thnidu (talk) 05:26, 6 June 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Potential information[edit]

Defense lawyer rips mob trial witness as 'liar' - 2nd Witness dismissed as Wikipedia hopeful for 'most famous informant' might have relevance to this article. -- Jreferee (Talk) 00:48, 30 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Do you really need a citation for the statement that a criminal who was informed on will feel hostile towards the informant? That's ridiculous. This whole article just states common knowledge. It's like asking for a citation that people generally don't like pain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:59, 19 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]


Merge is great idea. As this article stands it fails WP:NOT and WP:V and WP:N it is a wonder it has not been deleted yet. Jeepday (talk) 21:51, 16 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I also support the proposed merge.Jlittlet 18:22, 22 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I disagree with the merge as the other article is far too specific. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 6 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Military intelligence informants?[edit]

There's rather little here - only the picture & caption, as far as I can tell - on military intelligence informants, despite the link to it from the spotter disambiguation page. Allens (talk) 12:47, 3 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Historical Perspective and Paramilitary Organisations[edit]

Very little historical perspective. The informer is a recurrent figure in Irish nationalist/republican movements. See the case of Denis Donaldson to realise that they are still held in widespread contempt, as a kind of homo sacer today. (talk) 06:59, 9 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Stool Pigeon[edit]

Found in Dick Tracy cartoon, by Chester Gould, »Model«, 1/23/52 – 3/27/52. »Do you think my daughter’s a stool pigeon?« : Model’s father to Tracy Junior, as Model will not reveal her brother’s adress. (Junior loves Model, Model’s brother is a police murderer.) »The Dick Tracy Casebbok«, Selection by Penguin Books and St Martin’s Press, New York, 1990. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fritz Jörn (talkcontribs) 13:06, 24 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Add Asset[edit]

Asset (intelligence) . — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 19 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

for police to overlook their...[edit]

I would write:
"for the police to overlook their..." (talk) 22:28, 30 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Death Informant[edit]

Death Informant: When a death certificate is issued by an agency, there is usually both a physician or coroner who informs of the facts of the death. However, the Informant on a death certificate is a likely a family member or close confidant who Informs of the privileged and private information regarding the Parents or next of kin of the deceased. At times, a funeral director will provide this information to the agency, based upon information previously gathered or by interview from family members.~~Robert I. Miskimen Jr aka Bobthefarmer~~ [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobthefarmer (talkcontribs) 12:46, 20 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]


Good afternoon,to start I'm pretty sure that the information is viable,there was a murder of a young man few years ago. Well the info,is that he was killed over a drug deal gone bad.they chopped his body and placed in an industrial garbage bag/body bag and ankerd to the bottom of the lake?.I have more info on this but I don't want it leaked out to the wrong person. Mater2006 (talk) 17:43, 10 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Other meanings[edit]

For much of my career as a linguist I have been troubled by the co-optation of the word informant by government agencies because they felt that the older word "informer" was pejorative and off-putting, which has caused some linguists to refer to their informants as "consultants". Of course, this is merely another case of euphemism creep.[1][2][3] So I've changed the hatnote from the vague Other uses, which doesn't specify what meaning the article is about, to About, which does.

And since the article also uses the word "informer", twice each in § Criminal informants and Politics, I've added a mention of that synonym in the lede.

Please {{Ping}} me to discuss. --Thnidu (talk) 05:20, 6 June 2016 (UTC)[reply]


  1. ^ "the_criminal_lawyer". "When did swear words become swear words and why?". Reddit. Retrieved 6 June 2016. What counts as a "bad word" changes as society changes. "Bloody" used to be a shocking thing to say in 1800s England, but in modern U.S. speech it's completely inoffensive, more a cutesy trope indicating that the speaker is English. There's also "euphemism creep." (Euphemisms are the attempt to get around a taboo by using more symbolic or wordier phrases. When the euphemism becomes so widely used that it now is just as direct a way of offending, a new euphemism comes along to replace it, and the old euphemism joins the taboo words.)
  2. ^ Cassingham, Randy (19 June 2011). "The Euphemism Treadmill". This is True. Archived from the original on 2011-06-25. Retrieved 6 June 2016. The "euphemism treadmill" refers to how some words inevitably march down a "treadmill" path. For example what was called "shell shock" in WWI became "battle fatigue" in WWII, "operational exhaustion" in the Korean war, and "PTSD" in Vietnam. [The original article is no longer available online, but it is quoted by the author at this URL, which is part of the main website's blog.]
  3. ^ Euphemism Creep in Hebrew. On Language Hat.

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