From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

42 states + DC, PR: Alabama Alaska Arizona California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia (U.S. state) Hawaii Idaho Illinois Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Puerto Rico Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington (state) Washington, D.C. Wisconsin Wyoming

8 states remaining: Arkansas Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Nebraska North Dakota West Virginia

54 countries: Andorra Australia Austria The Bahamas Belgium Bhutan Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Cambodia Canada China Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Ecuador Egypt England Fiji Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland India Republic of Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Jordan Mexico Monaco Montenegro Netherlands New Zealand Norway Peru Poland Portugal Romania Russia Scotland Slovenia South Africa South Korea Spain Sweden Switzerland Thailand Turkey Uzbekistan Vietnam Wales Zambia

Project editor retention logo 1.svg WP:RETENTION This editor is willing to lend a helping hand. Just ask.

If reverting or changing any action I have done will clearly improve the encyclopedia, just do it without asking permission. A note afterwards is appreciated.

RE: Disputes -- Disputes are inevitable in a project like this. I always try to appeal to the adult side of anyone who disagrees with anything I've done here — provide an opportunity to walk away, cool down, and realize that his or her own actions may have contributed to the disagreement. (That allows me the same opportunity, of course, since it's always possible that I'm the one who is wrong.) If that doesn't work, I request administrative assistance. I'm not a psychiatrist, nor am I here to insure that everyone loves everyone; I'm here to help build an encyclopedia. I'm always willing to extend the benefit of the doubt once, and if I'm the one at fault I will say so; but I have no interest in feeding the trolls, nor in wasting the limited amount of editing time available to me with people who insist on putting their personal goals above the goals of the project.

Just because you can push the button, doesn't mean you should.
Wp first edition.jpg This editor is a Grognard Mirabilaire and is entitled to display this 1937 Wikipedia First Edition.
Symbol support vote.svg This user helped promote the article Ted Bundy to good article status.
Million award logo.svg This user won the Million Award for bringing Ted Bundy to Good Article status.
Symbol support vote.svg This user helped promote the article Hack Wilson to good article status.
Peacedove.svg This user assists at the dispute resolution noticeboard.
This user does not engage in Groupthink, and sometimes thinks outside the box. Crystal package.png
Writing Magnifying.PNG
This user is a member of the
Guild of Copy Editors.
Crystal personal.svg
This user is a member of
WikiProject Biography.
⚕ This user is a member of WikiProject Medicine.
BlackHole.jpg This user has been helping the Internet not suck since 2008.
Alcatraz Island - prison cells cropped.jpg This user is a member of WikiProject Crime and Criminal Biography
Serial Killer Task Force.svg This user is a member of the Serial Killer Task Force.
Edit-find-replace.svg This user is a new page patroller.
IP Address This User supports mandatory registration.
Peace symbol.svg This user does not understand mean people. Please be nice.
MedCom laurel.png This user believes in civility and assuming good faith.
This user wishes the
History Channel still showed actual history programming.

Physician, Writer, Speaker, Thaumaturgist

  • World traveler
  • Double agent
  • Last of the big-time spenders
  • Riverboat gambler
  • Soldier of fortune
  • Soft-shoe dancer
  • Singer of sentimental ballads
  • Finalist in Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes 28 years in a row

Have MacBook, Will Travel


Original Barnstar.png The Original Barnstar
This is presented for your contributions to the Stade Roland Garros article. WOW! The Ink Daddy! (talk) 09:11, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
KM AVCISI.PNG The Good Article Barnstar
For your efforts in promoting Hack Wilson to GA. Your hard work should be rewarded! ♦ Orsoni (talk) 12:58, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Peace Barnstar 6.png The Barnstar of Diplomacy
I can't believe no one acknowledged the phenomenal job you did to resolve the conflict over the lead sentence in Shroud of Turin, which would have continued ad infinitum with ad nauseum personal attacks, had you not interceded and focused hotter heads on solving the problem at hand. Bravo. (talk) 01:37, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Cornflower blue Yogo sapphire.jpg

personal health
Thank you for quality articles on people, such as Hack Wilson, for dispute resolution, copy-editing, new page patrol, treatment of articles' talk pages, and for thinking "Sounds like that scale -- the one that balances user contributions with user issues -- needs some serious recalibrating", - you are an awesome Wikipedian!

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:33, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Antiflame Barnstar Hires.png The Anti-Flame Barnstar
For a remarkable display of restraint. PPP 05:08, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Million award logo.svg The Million Award
For your contributions to bring Ted Bundy (estimated annual readership: 2,581,000) to Good Article status, I hereby present you the Million Award. Congratulations on this rare accomplishment, and thanks for all you do for Wikipedia's readers. -- Khazar2 (talk) 14:22, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Team Barnstar Hires.png The Teamwork Barnstar
Thanks for all the copy editing you did on Red Skelton! Being there to fix the mistakes of my mind and often foolish fingers helped make the article an FA. Thanks again! We hope (talk) 14:00, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

Contributions of Relative Substance

Articles Created or Substantially Rewritten

Bucket List

So Many Articles, So Little Time

(articles in dIre need of improvement, to be addressed as time and spouse permit)

Advice to myself — an ongoing self-reminder

  1. Wikipedia is not fair. Just like life. Get over it.
  2. Stay calm and maintain a professional demeanor. Be patient; remain courteous and civil. Don't edit when angry or upset.
  3. Avoid conflict, even if you feel know you are right. Give other editors the benefit of the doubt.
  4. Assume good faith toward your collaborating editors, if not their edits.
  5. Ignore attacks. Not easily done, but a real timesaver. Attacks and counter-attacks are hazardous to your mental health. The best and most frequently offered Administrative advice is to move on -- "go fishing". If necessary, return the next day -- but don't revive the debate; beating a dead horse is never a good idea.
  6. Don't take it personally. Editors make honest mistakes. Communicating our thoughts is not easily done on the Internet.
  7. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. You're not a real Wikipedian until you've made—and learned from—at least 50 of them.
  8. Don't think of editing as a competition.
  9. Illegitimi non carborundum.
  10. Your opinion—and mine—are unimportant here. What is important here is sourcing.

The only thing to take personally on Wikipedia is praise, you know. All else is random noise.

--Tim Trent

Good response (stolen from Dennis Brown and modified) to pushy editors:

You have to remember that articles are written by a large number of people, some better than others at being neutral. Don't assume that everyone disagrees with you. When you get combative and start monologuing, people tune you out, or ignore you; or worse, conclude you have some POV agenda that you are trying to force on the rest of us. You will find that you get a lot more done around here by being patient, and building a consensus. It only takes a day or two, typically. This isn't a full time job for any of us, after all. It sounds like you have some good ideas; now try politely presenting them in a more pithy way, and you will probably find others who agree with you. (If you don't, that's a clear signal that you might simply be wrong.) Most people WANT an article to be 100% accurate; very few have their own agenda. Make it easier for the rest of us to agree with you by being a little nicer and a little less aggressive.


The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work.
("The Øth law of Wikipedia, Author unknown, nicked from Raul's Laws.)

  • A few definitions for newbies (oops - new editors):
    • Meat puppet: Editor who disagrees with you
    • Sock puppet: Editor who agrees with an editor who disagrees with you
    • Non-notable: A subject you're not interested in
    • Vandalism: An edit you didn't make
    • Neutral point of view: Your point of view
    • Consensus: A mythical state of utopian human evolution; many scholars of Wikipedian theology theorize that if consensus is ever reached, Wikipedia will spontaneously disappear.
  • The oft-quoted mantra that "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth..." is an Orwellian absurdity. The actual threshold should be verifiability AND truth. The idea that "WP is not a court of law, and it's not our job as editors to decide what is true and what isn't" is a strict-constructionist interpretation of WP guidelines (see ON RULES, below), but a disingenuous rationalization, in my humble opinion. If an encyclopedia does not aspire to truth, to the extent that that is possible, what good is it?
  • Wikipedia says of itself that it is "not a democracy" and "not a bureaucracy." That is half correct.
  • All NPOV joking aside: Without the doctrine of Neutral Point of View, Wikipedia would have disintegrated long ago. NPOV is the glue that holds the project together, and as such is the single most important creation of Messrs. Sanger and Wales.
    • Corollary 1: An article is neutral if, after reading it, you cannot tell where the authors' sympathies lie.
    • Corollary 2: At the end of the day, NPOV will always triumph over the tendentious distortions of the moment.
  • Anyone who says "Wikipedia is not censored" has never paid particularly close attention to the way talk pages are treated by third parties.
  • Creating articles at Wikipedia is a bit like conceiving and rearing kids: You do your best to set them up on a good foundation and hope that they'll develop and progress without getting mixed up with the wrong people; but in the end, all you can do is turn 'em loose, wave goodbye, and hope for the best.
  • Since most vandalism is committed by IPs, all IPs are treated like shit. Trying to make serious edits to Wikipedia as an IP editor is like wandering the countryside in a moose costume on the first day of hunting season.
  • Yes, "anyone can edit" is a fundamental WP principle; but in view of he previous observation, wouldn't it make more sense to require registration for anyone who wants to edit, since "anyone can register"?
  • Any display of humor within WP represents an egregious lack of respect for those editors who have no sense for it.


The thing about WIkipedia is that there is no top to take it to. That alone is a hard thing to grasp. No hierarchy, no one in charge, just the alleged wisdom of crowds. Sometimes that is good, other times it sucks badly. I understand the place perfectly, or, rather, I understand that Wikipedia is wholly imperfect. I simply know how to work within it and accept its limitations. I hope you are not under the illusion that it is an encyclopaedia, though. It may produce one, but it is a social experiment. "We" created it along with a load of rules, some of which are rubbish. The thing is a loose collection of folk, some of whom have great brains and some of whom are sharing a single brain cell with an amoeba. And each of us is equal. Scary or what?

(nicked from Tim Trent's talk page)


Molṑn labé!


The Wikipedia philosophy can be summed up thusly: "Experts are scum." For some reason people who spend 40 years learning everything they can about, say, the Peloponnesian War—and indeed, advancing the body of human knowledge—get all pissy when their contributions are edited away by Randy in Boise who heard somewhere that sword-wielding skeletons were involved. And they get downright irate when asked politely to engage in discourse with Randy until the sword-skeleton theory can be incorporated into the article without passing judgment. (Lore Sjöberg, "The Wikipedia FAQK" – Wired, April 2006)


Per WP:V, "Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed" — and in some circumstances (BLPs, for example) must be. While there is certainly a spectrum, my view is that {{cn}} tags are appropriate for uncontentious material; but for anything important (eg health information), dubious/unsupported material needs immediate deletion. Regarding such decisions, "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material".


WP:IAR is a touchy concept, subject to widely varying interpretation, and mine continues to evolve. My current one—as of this writing—is that overall article quality trumps the rules, in nearly all cases. If it comes down to making a distinct improvement in an article versus obeying a rule, I will make the improvement. In applying that policy I manage to annoy the community's compulsive rule followers every so often — but so be it. I'm not a blind rule follower in real life, either. If some of WP's self-appointed specialists in the enforcement of the finer details of esoteric rules were to instead devote some of their seemingly inexhaustible energies to contributing a bit of content on occasion, the encyclopedia might be completed considerably sooner, and with considerably less aggravation.


I'm not sure what part of WP:BRD is unclear to so many seasoned editors. It seems rather straightforward to me: If you were bold, and you've been reverted, you then need to discuss, civilly. Which brings us to...


Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement.svg

When someone is constantly making subtle uncivil comments with a particular bias that slide under the block radar, the immediate victim is editor participation; the ultimate victim is neutrality.


In general (except as noted above), don't.


The universe does not revolve around you

Wikipedia is not a forum or a soapbox. Your ego is not on the line while you are here. Editors are human; they are prone to errors, labile emotions, and stress. The goal of the project is to assemble reliable, encyclopedic information; set aside your ego and work toward that goal.

While editors' points of view are certainly welcomed, please remember that Wikipedia has a neutral point of view policy with regard to writing articles. To that effect, editors should set aside their conflicting egos and points of view, and work together to create neutral content. Through collaboration, and presentation of either a neutral point of view or all points of view in every article, Wikipedia achieves its aim of sharing reliable information with its readers.

On Wikipedia and the Cabal

Any cabal you perceive is of your own making.

A common complaint here is that there are groups of users — usually longtime members of the community — who have all the power, make all the decisions, police the behavior of everyone else, and disclaim any responsibility for such actions; in short, cabals. Typically, the accuser will string together a chain of outcomes that s/he did not desire, and assign a common causation to them. The outcomes may be unrelated, or related only in the sense that they are in line with generally accepted community practices (typically, policy pages) or evolving consensus. It is true that respected editors are influential in the latter; it is not true that they can bend the entire community to their will. Moreover, since experienced editors tend to be fluent in the same policy pages, they may take on the appearance of an organised unit.

When a newer user starts accusing everyone of conspiring against him or her, and established Wikipedians band together in defense, it will be seen as confirmation of his or her misplaced suspicions. It is much more effective to refute the arguments of the majority through reasoned discussion than to imply that they are wrong because they are the majority, or that disagreement constitutes some form of repression. If you attack people who oppose you as if they were a collective with an agenda against you, then they will certainly become one. There is no cabal conspiring against you unless you create it yourself.

Also, consider that if many or most of the editors involved in a discussion disagree with you, it may be simply because you are wrong — or in violation of site policies (such as WP:UNDUE) — or both.

See also