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Wikipedia-Ambassador-Program-Logo.png This user is a Wikipedia Campus Ambassador.
MedCom laurel.png This user believes in civility and assuming good faith.
PD-icon.svg This user believes in freedom of all types of information for all.
This user is interested in Philosophy, particularly later modern Western philosophy
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Colossal octopus by Pierre Denys de Montfort.jpg This users favourite Cryptid is the Kraken
Apple pie.jpg This user likes pie.
Police Box.JPG This user is a Time Lord.


My name is Zach. I teach college.

this is a "medium" coffee

What I do[edit]


I have taught Writing as Communication a few times. My student projects have been awesome.

I am a graduate student in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, working on a dissertation about digital sharing technologies.

I am also a Wikipedia Campus Ambassador for the University of Massachusetts, and a N.E.W.B.I.E


I am an avid proponent of Creative Commons, especially the share-alike license, under which Wikipedia is licensed. I believe that although information wants to be free it is really people who want to be free. If knowledge is really power (and I believe it is) then knowledge should be free as in "freedom" (which is why I love Wikipedia).

For Fun[edit]

I enjoy puzzles, and have participated in the MIT Mystery Hunt for the past seven years.

I consider myself a foodie. I spend a good amount of time thinking about, preparing/cooking/brewing, or consuming tasty edibles.

Sometimes I use British spellings or just British words not used in the US just because it is fun. Especially the term for the lightweight metal with the symbol Al. I have never lived in GB.

I think that the plural of "Octopus" is way more fun as Octopodes and try to find ways to use it in sentences.

I think Cryptozoology is awesome.

I enjoy etymology and I wish I studied more Latin, Greek, German, and French.


My username is a reference to a few things

Answer to Life.png

Stuff for Students[edit]

Grammar / Editorial Opinions[edit]

FYI: I believe in the serial comma. I expect good grammar but I don't always follow it. Sometimes rules are made to be broken, but only after proving that you know the rules in the first place. That being said, I'm not very tolerant of students messing up their, they're, and there. Or it's and it is. In all honesty, no academic writing (especially that in an encyclopedia) should use contractions - it helps things read more professionally.[1]

If you spell "a lot" as "alot", you are referring to a monster and not a synonym for "many". Just sayin.

Bad spelling in general is pretty silly since everyone now has a spell checker.

When in doubt, follow the Manual of Style.

My Sandbox[edit]


Here's a video I made about how to write better essays. Some of it helps with Wikipedia.


  1. ^ McDowell, Zachary.  Missing or empty |title= (help);