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Australian, speaker of Chinese and Japanese, interested in Vietnamese and Mongolian. Living in Beijing, previously at various times resident in Japan, Hainan, Macao, and Mongolia. A Macintosh user.
I stepped down from editing Wikipedia articles for a while, then came back again. Now that I'm going back to China, I have no choice but to step down again. Which is probably for the best. I've noticed that despite (or because of) constant editing of articles, there is a natural tendency to descend into incoherence. "Editing" should involve adding and rewriting articles so that they read more consistently with greater coherence. Instead, many so-called "editors" feel that all they need to do is tack on information without regard to the rest of the article. Very few editors actually try to integrate their information into the article. The more tack-ons there are, the less sense the article makes. As a result, Wikipedia articles seem to be getting more and more chaotic. Add to this POV pushers and high-school vandals, and I can't help but feel that all this massive effort is not actually leading to a better encyclopaedia. So many edits seem like pointless tinkering that often detract from the quality of articles rather than adding to it.
Jason Scott Sadofsky's criticisms of Wikipedia ring only too true. I love this passage from his Great Failure of Wikipedia:
- Think of Wikipedia as a massive garage where you can build any car you want to. Great tools are provided, a lot of shop manuals are there, and you get your own lift and away you go. Fantastic. But every one else, and I mean everyone else in the garage can work on your car with you. There's no "lead mechanics", no "shop floor managers", no anything. In fact, the people who are allowed to work on your car can completely disregard what you were doing with it. They could have flown in from Boola-Boola Island 2 hours ago, not know the language, can't read the manuals, and just go in and paint your car pink. And drive it. And leave it somewhere. Now, since tools are free and paint is free and you can easily go and retrieve your nice car and get it back to something resembling sanity, a lot of the people in the garage see there's no problems. But in fact, the fifth, or the hundredth time you're traipsing down the lane to find your messed-up, polka-dotted, covered-in-chrome-pussycats car, you're kind of inclined to drive it into the lake and leave it upside down, wheels spinning.
I have great respect for some of the people here, including people I've had arguments with. I hope that they will continue to try and keep the place in order, despite the increasing signs that Wikipedia is actually slipping into disorder.
In my time here I've done quite a lot of edits, mainly related to China and Japan.
When unable to log on from my own computer, I've used other computers with other IP addresses, including 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124, and 126.96.36.199.
Articles I've started or expanded considerably include: Sinocentrism, Temple of Confucius, Yushima Seido, Motoori Norinaga, Keichu (scholar), Kamo no Mabuchi, Language planning, Hai Rui, Sino-Japanese, Academies (China), White Deer Grotto Academy, and Donglin Academy. I also wrote stubs for José dos Santos Ferreira, Van Mieu, Le Quy Don, Phung Khac Khoan, Taihang Mountains, Wuling Mountains, Nanling, David Hawkes (scholar), Ivan Morris, A L Sadler, Helen Craig McCullough, Edwin McClellan, Joyce Ackroyd, Culai Academy, Dongpo Academy, Guozijian, Saxaul, and Zelda (band). I also did a big cleanup of Japanese poetry.
I've deleted my screed (rant) on the naming of the Yangtze River because I'm rather tired of the mindless responses that this attracts from certain Chinese nationalists (one of them actually sent an email to my gmail account), who seem to be attracted to Wikipedia by the opportunity to impose their views on the world. Bad as Western Imperialism no doubt was, it is does not justify the imposition of a new orthodoxy by another chauvinistic tradition.
Anyone who comes here should also realise that I am implacably opposed to all forms of nationalism, including Australian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Mongolian. Nationalism is especially irksome when combined with state ideology, which generally results in the brainwashed flogging the version they learnt in school as "The Truth".