User:Jakew

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RETIRED
This user is no longer active on Wikipedia as of June 2012.
Me

My name is Jake Waskett. I am a 34 year old man, living in England.

I am a computer software engineer, IT specialist, and web designer, an unashamed nerd, and a Linux user. I am fascinated by computer operating system design, and complex systems in general.

Milestones

As of today (23 May 2012), I've been editing Wikipedia for about seven and a half years, and have made just over 17,000 edits.

Major edits

These articles needed a friend, so I adopted them:

Adoption plans

I intend to adopt these articles at some point:

Created articles

Circumcision

I am interested in the medical aspects of this procedure. In 2003, I became aware of the misleading activities of many activist groups opposed to neonatal circumcision. My research has continued and intensified since, and I now consider myself something of an expert on the subject. I've published several letters and articles on the subject in academic journals.

I am neither in favour of or against neonatal circumcision, but am opposed to misleading information. As the American Academy of Pediatrics states, "[t]o make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision." How nice to have an (unintentional) endorsement for NPOV and Verifiability!

Barnstars/Other

I'm suitably honoured. :-) - Jakew 13:30, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Indeed. I don't always agree with you, Jake, but your calmness under fire is something I admire greatly. Kasreyn 21:50, 25 May 2006 (UTC)


Random thoughts on WP policies...

Warning: the following is is neither policy nor guideline, though it is based upon both.

"But it cites sources" is a surprisingly common argument for using an unreliable source in Wikipedia, but it is not a valid argument for inclusion.

Anyone familiar with editing Wikipedia itself will know that misrepresentation of sources is a common problem. The fact that a source is cited is no guarantee that the source supports the claims made. Occasionally there is doubt about even the existence of a source. In the case of reliable sources, some of the qualities that make it reliable (checking by others, peer review processes in particular) help to guard against this. But in the case of an unreliable source (such as a random web page), there are no checks.

Furthermore, sources (both reliable and otherwise) are not bound by our prohibition against original research, so they may extrapolate far beyond their source material, and — again, because the source is not reliable — we cannot have any confidence that these extrapolations would be considered reasonable, or even sane, by experts in the field.

Thus, in a limited way, many web-based sources are actually less reliable than Wikipedia itself, since at least multiple editors watch Wikipedia and are able to verify additions (it should be noted, however, that Wikipedia is not considered a reliable source). However, it may be worth retrieving each of the sources cited, to evaluate whether they can be cited instead.

A tale of two policy explanations

  • There's nothing wrong with critical thinking, we just don't let it affect our edits. WP:NOR is long established policy for one very good reason: when "anyone can edit", some anonymous/pseudonymous editors will be incapable of critical thinking. If we allow it for you, we have to allow it for everyone, including those who can't think at all. Instead, we insist on wp:verifiability and secondary reliable sources. It works, though we have to keep explaining why we do it. — LeadSongDog 20:34, April 27, 2012
  • Would it be realistic to write a quality encyclopaedia on the basis of editors' opinions about circumcision when those editors have unpredictable levels of familiarity with the research on the subject, and with medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics, etc? It wouldn't work with Wikipedia's model, because the view of a true expert in the subject carries no more weight than that of one who is utterly clueless. To make it have a chance of working, you'd need to be able to guarantee that editors had a minimum level of competence in the subject (which means either abolishing anonymity and requiring proof of qualifications, or alternatively performing some sort of examination on the subject matter before permitting individuals to edit). Even then I imagine many disputes would be unresolvable because of fundamentally irreconcilable interpretations. Wikipedia's model avoids those problems because we mainly focus on presentation of what reliable sources have said in accordance with Wikipedia's policies. The prohibition against original research frustrates all of us from time to time, but it's not there just to irritate you. Think for a moment, and it may begin to make sense. — me 13:16, April 27, 2012

Similar arguments (and made on the same day), but which is punchier? Which is concise? Which is more persuasive? I wish I had LeadSongDog's eloquence!