User:Alansohn

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About me

Flag of New Jersey.svg This user lives in the state of New Jersey.

I have a particular interest in local area and New Jersey governmental topics. I have been gathering information about New Jersey and its municipalities, and I am looking to create a structure to load expanded information into pages for all of New Jersey's 566 municipalities, as well as consolidating other encyclopedic information about New Jersey.

An endorsement from an article's subject

I bizarrely came across an article in the Brown Alumni Magazine written by Jamie Metzl, in which he discusses my participation at AfD.

Alansohn came to my defense. "Maybe we read different articles or found different search results," he said, "but this is clearly a leading scholar in the field and published author, whose work has been published in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Boston Globe, which confers a strong degree of notability.... The person is clearly notable in full compliance with [Wikipedia standards] and passes the 'multiple non-trivial published works' standard with flying colors. Strong Keep." I loved Alansohn. [1]

A matter of good and evil

We all have our pluses and minuses, both in real life and in Wikipedia. The problem is that most admins treat people on a binary basis -- you are either good or you are evil -- failing to recognize the positives in the people they deem evil and failing to see the negatives of the people they have judged good. The goal ought to be to seek ways to maximize the positive from each editor. Wikipedia:Blocking policy's mandate is that blocks are intended "to protect the project from harm, and reduce likely future problems", an approach that might have some success with vandals. The unfortunate reality is that blocks to experienced editors end up being punitive. They are applied in an "all your edits are bad" approach that fails to solve the issue at hand and only ends up creating more problems than they seek to solve. The real problem is finding admins who have the common sense needed to apply blocks that push people from areas where there are challenges to areas where they genuinely benefit this project.

Dumping poop

Between Huggle and AWB -- and I've used both -- we have turned so much of Wikipedia editing into a mindless game in which undoing the addition of the word "poop" counts as progress. Spending even a few minutes on Huggle, let alone an hour, it's clear that the vast majority of IP editors have no interest whatsoever in improving this encyclopedia.

The issue I have is not with those fighting vandalism. Just as in the real world, we need people who will scrub off graffiti and replace shattered windows. The problem is that we have no barrier to entry for vandals, which means that people who could be devoting time to creating new content and expanding Wikipedia end up spending inordinate amounts of time cleaning up the messes the vandals create. Imagine if you removed every window and outside door in your home, allowing anyone to enter at any time. Sure, some of them would come in to your home, wash the dirty dishes in the sink, make your bed and vacuum the floors, and some may even volunteer on their own to build you a new bookcase or extra bedroom. But most won't. While many will just walk through and have little effect (positive or negative), perhaps sharing a snarky remark about your decorating choices, a small number may decide to trash the place. The time you spend cleaning up after those vandals is pure wasted effort that is not counteracted by the positives of those people who make your home cleaner and better.

Just as with a home, even small barriers to entry can be effective. Locked doors and windows will keep out most people, but sufficiently determined crooks can break the door down. Wikipedia needs barriers of its own, such as requiring registration and performing some basic identity checking. A brief required course on how Wikipedia works -- what is required, what is allowed and what is forbidden -- will let new editors know what our rules are before they get started. Less vandalism will mean that all those folks who have been spending much time fighting vandalism will be able to spend less wasted time undoing damage on Wikipedia and more time filling in Wikipedia's holes by expanding existing articles and creating new ones, all of which make Wikipedia better rather than less bad.

We only add to the problem by "ranking" editors on Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by number of edits exclusively by the total number of edits. By allowing these vandalism reversions to count towards building a high score, we encourage our most productive editors to accomplish next to nothing in terms of forward progress. When vandalism is reverted, the encyclopedia isn't better, it's just less bad. With even the flimsiest registration process, we could get rid of most of our vandals and free up huge amounts of time from people who really want to do work to help. As of July 2009, the English Wikipedia's top ten editors (myself included) have made more than 2.5 million edits in total. If much of this was vandalism reverting and error correction that could have been done by bots or prevented with mildly effective registration requirements, we'd have freed up thousands of hours that could have been used productively to make Wikipedia better. It's time we found some way to rank users by how much they've added to the encyclopedia, not how much "poop" they've removed and used effective procedures to keep out much of the vandalism in the first place.

Words of wisdom from our leader

Let me make my point more clear: arguments about what we ought to [do] if someone really starts to abuse wikipedia with thousands and thousands of trivial articles do not prove that we ought to delete any and every article that's too trivial today.

Put another way: if someone wants to write an article about their high school, we should relax and accomodate them, even if we wish they wouldn't do it. And that's true *even if* we should react differently if someone comes in and starts mass-adding articles on every high school in the world.

Let me make this more concrete. Let's say I start writing an article about my high school, Randolph School, of Huntsville, Alabama. I could write a decent 2 page article about it, citing information that can easily be verified by anyone who visits their website.

Then I think people should relax and accomodate [sic] me. It isn't hurting anything. It'd be a good article, I'm a good contributor, and so cutting me some slack is a very reasonable thing to do.

That's true *even if* we'd react differently to a ton of one-liners mass-imported saying nothing more than "Randolph School is a private school in Huntsville, Alabama, US" and "Indian Springs is a private school in Birmingham, Alabama, US" and on and on and on, ad nauseum.

The argument "what if someone did this particular thing 100,000 times" is not a valid argument against letting them do it a few times.

--Jimbo (dated November 7, 2003[2])

emedfe

Vandalism I almost let stay (almost)

Other than the fact that there was no reliable and verifiable source to evidence a connection to Haddonfield, New Jersey, this entry almost seemed fine. Sadly, it was reverted before I could figure out how to keep it.

  • Alansohn (born 1938), dedicated his life (waking and sleeping) to this page and in so doing made all of our lives better. Thank you, Alansohn! People everywhere love you!

Barnstars

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The Award of the Arabian Barnstar

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I, Ralhazzaa, hereby award you with the Award of the Arabian Barnstar due to your appreciated and significant contributions in starting and editing articles related to the Arab world and culture, والسلام عليكم


A Barnstar!
The Original Barnstar

I hereby award you this barnstar for your extensive edits to East Brunswick and East Brunswick High School. Keep up the good work! GorillazFan Adam 00:43, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif I have always been a firm beleiver in giving credit where credit is due. MR. Sohn I'm also a Teaneckian and have watched your work on Wikipedia with wonder and amazement. I give you this tirless worker barnstar for dedicated editing to all information concerning New Jersey history and government. The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
Current Events Barnstar.png The Current Events Barnstar
For being the first editor to even try to add a source for reports of Cory Lidle's death, amidst the barrage of speculation and edit warring, I hereby award you the Current Events Barnstar. Kafziel Talk 21:58, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Editors Barnstar.png The Editor's Barnstar
I am giving you this barnstar for working hard on creating and editing articles about schools, and even for helping me with the Ho-Ho-Kus Public School and Allendale School District articles. Amos Han Talk 20:11, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Editors Barnstar.png The Editor's Barnstar
Another barnstar for catching my errors in my edits and helping me with the articles about schools, train stations, and rivers in Bergen County, New Jersey. Amos Han Talk 01:17, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif I saw how hard you worked to prevent the deletion of NorthChurch Cemetary, Hardyston,NJ; but sadly, your endless work didn't work out. However, I award you for giving up a fight to not lose the article. Congrats! Meldshal42 14:39, 6 September 2007 (UTC)|style="font-size: x-large; padding: 0; vertical-align: middle; height: 1.1em;" | The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
Editors Barnstar.png The Editor's Barnstar
For your excellent work on Edison High School (Fresno, California). If you can change my mind on an AfD that I created, you must have done something deserving a barnstar! Rjd0060 16:04, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Editors Barnstar.png The Editor's Barnstar
Great job working on New Jersey related articles. It's also hard to believe that you know the name of the principal in my old school. NHRHS2010 talk 00:26, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif New Jersey being the most important state, all the great and often stuff you have done is worth more than it seems!Tlantanu (talk) 19:12, 12 July 2008 (UTC) | The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
Rescuebarnstar.png The Article Rescue Barnstar
for meritorious rescue of ruse of war Pohick2 (talk) 00:57, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Flag of New Jersey.svg WikiProject New Jersey Award
On behalf of the residents of NJ, thank you for all your work and leadership on New Jersey-related articled. I continue to be amazed at the tremendous effort you put forth on articles related to our great state! Shirulashem (talk) 01:36, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Barnstar of Reversion2.png The Anti-Vandalism Barnstar
Surprised you haven't got this one yet. You beat me to dozens of mass blankings I otherwise would have had :P... anyways nice job. 2J Bäkkvire Maestro what are you looking at? 21:31, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Barnstar of Reversion2.png The Anti-Vandalism Barnstar
Thank you very much for reverting vandalism on my talk page! NHRHS2010 |  Happy Holidays!  17:03, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Barnstar of Reversion2.png The Anti-Vandalism Barnstar
Thank you for catching and fixing the vandalism on the Lafayette Library and Learning Center page! Somebody was certainly cranky. 18:45, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Areas of Focus

  • Municipalities in New Jersey: The pages exist, but 80-90% are only a few steps beyond mere stubs. The ones that have been updated have a melange of useful and useless information with no standardization whatsoever. As part of WP:NJ, I would like to identify kindred spirits who would coordinate each individual county (and the municipalities therein) in an agreed upon format. My idea is to send this template to local libraries and public schools, with the goal of encouraging local resources to do the mind-numbingly tedious task (for an outsider, but not a native) of data gathering and entry tasks.
  • New Jersey Forms of Government: See Faulkner Act (New Jersey) for a starting point into a web of pages that describes New Jersey's 11 forms of government (5 traditional and 6 modern). There are still two outstanding pages in this ring, for City (New Jersey) and Town (New Jersey) that I will get to when I have a chance.
  • Template:New Jersey is an effort to tighten up the template for the State of New Jersey and make it more similar to the Template:United States found on each of the individual state pages.
  • Board of Chosen Freeholders was a page referenced in many places that just didn't exist. I went through web pages for all 21 counties and found almost all of the relevant information. I will follow up to verify what I have found and fill in any missing details.
  • New Jersey Legislature has been updated to list all 40 legislative districts and the municipalities included in each one. This may not be the best place, but it does allow for a link to view what is included in each district.


Re:Triton Regional High School

I was already working on that. Banan14kab (talk) 18:33, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

More...

Userified articles

Article list:
Alansohn Alansohn/2005 Taxes by Municipality Alansohn/2006 Registration
Alansohn/2007 New Jersey Estimates Alansohn/2008 Softball Alansohn/2009 Newsweek's 50 Most Influential Rabbis
Alansohn/Academies@Englewood Alansohn/Alton C. Crews Middle School Alansohn/Ambiguous New Jersey high schools
Alansohn/American conservative writers Alansohn/Ashkenazi intelligence Alansohn/Aurora Hills Middle School
Alansohn/B. H. Carroll Theological Institute Alansohn/Bergen School of Architecture
Alansohn/Blue Ribbon Schools Alansohn/Blue Ribbon Schools 2003-2006 Alansohn/CFD
Alansohn/CircularRefs Alansohn/Cranbury Township School District
Alansohn/Cruftcruft Alansohn/Current Biography 2008 July Alansohn/Current Biography 2008 June
Alansohn/Current Biography 2008 May Alansohn/Current Biography 2008 November Alansohn/Current Biography 2009 January
Alansohn/DYKs Alansohn/Dane Rauschenberg Alansohn/Deaths in 1999
Alansohn/Dr. S. Hussain Zaheer Memorial High School Alansohn/EditCounterOptIn.js Alansohn/Established in New Jersey categories
Alansohn/Fictional Obsessive-Compulsives Alansohn/Frank Finnerty
Alansohn/Gordon Wilson (CEO) Alansohn/High school talk pages Alansohn/James Curcio
Alansohn/Jamie Metzl Alansohn/Knuckleball pitchers
Alansohn/Kristi Yamaoka Alansohn/List of Opening Day starting pitchers
Alansohn/List of school districts in New Jersey Alansohn/List of school districts in New Jersey talk pages Alansohn/Little tikes
Alansohn/NJDistricts Alansohn/NJ Districts Alansohn/NJ High Schools
Alansohn/NJ Morris County municipalities Alansohn/NJ Municipalities Alansohn/NJ Municipalities 2
Alansohn/NJ Sussex County municipalities Alansohn/NJ ZIP codes Alansohn/Naftali Tzvi Weisz
Alansohn/Net@work Alansohn/New Jersey Zip Codes Alansohn/New Jersey municipalities in alpha order
Alansohn/Otto4711 uncivility Alansohn/Preston High School (West Virginia) Alansohn/Princeton University Major Leaguers
Alansohn/Reliable sources for fictional characters Alansohn/Schools Alansohn/Seaview Square Mall
Alansohn/Terrill Middle School
Alansohn/To Do Alansohn/TopSchools 2006
Alansohn/TopSchools 2008 Alansohn/US News 2007 Best High Schools Alansohn/Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Racepacket (3rd)
Alansohn/World's largest cities Alansohn/huggle.css Alansohn/monobook.js

References

  1. ^ Metzl, Jamie. "Judgment at Wikipedia", Brown Alumni Magazine, March / April 2010. Accessed October 12, 2010.
  2. ^ Partial solution to rampant deletionism, Wikimedia, November 7, 2003. Accessed September 25, 2007.
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