Location: Los Alamos, New Mexico USA
Taking a break
I'm taking a vacation from Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is for teenagers. It's a hangout for nose-picking vandals and rogue editors with no social skills. I think most people figure that out and move on.
Earlier I was excited to see all the new tools for fighting vandalism. I thought this represented Wikipedia's commitment to crush the problem.
But recently I logged in after a long hiatus and was sad to see that the vandalism problem has grown.
Vandalism is a huge drain on editors' time and creativity. That time and creativity could have gone into high-level improvements to articles.
Wikipedia grew out of a culture that does not value accuracy and quality. Perhaps the founder's attitude is "First we'll let everyone contribute -- later we'll figure out how to defend it all from inaccuracies (accidental or otherwise)."
Well, OK then. Call me when Wikipedia is mature.
I'm tired of seeing my hard work undone by children.
- The Undo button was a good start. Now it needs more features and more automation. Let's have a checkbox labeled "Revert As Vandalism" which causes (1) the appropriate user-warning template to automatically appear on the offending user's Talk page, (2) with forwarding to WP:AIV if the final warning has already been given. The majority of vandals are still getting away unconfronted and uneducated. Let's make the process easier.
- Editing by unregistered (anonymous, IP-only) users needs to end today. -- JEBrown87544 14:56, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Areas of interest and expertise
- Celestial mechanics / Orbital mechanics software
- C++ (programming language)
- Applied mathematics
- Statistical analysis
- Relationship activism
- Relationship education
- Verbal abuse awareness
- Web design
- Jobs held:
- Software engineer
- B.S. Computer Science
- Graduate work in EE (microelectronics), Applied Mathematics (occasionally)
- Experience in: applied mathematics, statistical analysis
- The best things I can give to Wikipedia are those unwritten insights that helped me to grasp the material. This is how new teaching methods evolve and develop. It's been said that many great theories were poorly taught until really good visual examples and clearer wordings were discovered -- decades later, in some cases.
- Information is my religion.
- Quality: When I see an edit which possesses the evil trifecta of Poor Spelling, Poor Grammar, and Poor Fact-Checking, I will usually back away and not correct the spelling and grammar. Misspellings are a useful indicator of poor quality, a sign that the author didn't put much effort into checking his or her work. Misspellings and poor grammar are often indicators that the writer is generally careless about detail in all aspects of his or her work; cosmetic changes will not fix that. Rather, cosmetic problems should be left in, to more quickly alert other readers to the deeper overall problems with an article's quality. In other situations, when the prose is clear and the logic is sound and the points made are needful, I don't mind cleaning up the spelling/grammar/punctuation as a tribute to the quality of another writer's contribution. In any case, I never correct the spelling and grammar on a wiki if I'm not in a position to check the facts as well.
My Wikipedia editing skills arose out of:
- version control skills, acquired in a software engineering environment
- code review techniques, esp. side-by-side file comparison (e.g. using Unix's
- my habit of documenting all design decisions, whether I'm writing C++, HTML or text
- a heavily hyperlinked 8 MB reference book I'm writing
- web design
If you have these skills, your transition to Wikipedia editing will be easy and natural.