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First, despite my User name, I'm not Greek but English (half Irish, in fact, but born and brought up in England). I took the name "Mel Etitis" from some on-line dialogues on the philosophy of religion; the original Greek word has been distorted to make it look like a name, but it means something like "one who studies".
Secondly, the character in the dialogues is female; I'm male. Not important, but some people get needlessly embarrassed if they find that someone they've been referring to as "she" turns out to be a he.
Thirdly, despite my youthful appearance (both on the page and – you'll have to take my word for this – in real life) I'm fifty years old; I'm a philosopher by profession, teaching in the University of Oxford, and spent many years teaching English as a Foreign Language, also in Oxford.
Aside from all that, my interests are wide and varied, my musical, literary, and other tastes are eclectic, and some of them are represented in my contributions (though some are not, and some of my contributions are utterly unrelated to my tastes or interests).
I'm an admin., which means that I'm an ordinary editor who's been trusted with a few extra powers to help me do some largely tedious housekeeping jobs. Being an admin doesn't mean that I'm in any way above Wikipedia policy, and in fact brings with it extra responsibility — so if you think that I've behaved wrongly, let me know — but politely; it's most likely to be inadvertent, as is most wrongdoing here. (If I have a fault ("if"!), it's that I tend to respond badly to rudeness and aggression.)
I spend a little time randomly paging through the encyclopædia, tidying English and style, adding categories and stubs, occasionally doing more extensive editing. It's not glamorous, but I think that it helps make the encyclopædia better and more readable. I also patrol the New Pages list, do work at the Speedy Deletions category, and try to defend articles against vandalism and disruption. My more substantial contributions include 207 new articles as well as work on existing articles that ranges from significant expansion to complete rewriting:
|New articles||Existing articles|
(I haven't included new Category or disambiguation pages here, of which I've created or revivified a few.) I've also created the following page, into which I plan to insert all the relevant free images from the Wikipedia archives:
I started a page designed for those who are contributing, or who want to contribute, to Wikipedia in a language other than their first or native language:
Finally, I've up-loaded a few of my own photographs.
Articles on which I've done significant work, up to and including complete rewriting:
Plans for significant work on existing articles:
Jazz-L 100 project
I score, incredibly, only 161 on the Wikipedia addiction test. This labels me an addict, but only just. On the other hand, it'll definitely have gone up since the last time I dared to take it.
I've made  edits since I registered on 29th December 2004. Good grief, that's over 3,000 edits a month; that addiction test isn't doing its job. (My 10,000th edit: 25th April 2005. My 15,000th edit: 12th June 2005. My 10,000th edit on an article: 17th July 2005. My 20,000th edit. My 25,000th edit. My 15,000th edit on an article: 8th September 2005. My 30,000th edit: 19th October 2005. My 20,000th edit on an article: 16th January 2006. My 35,000th edit: 18th February 2006. My 25,000th edit on an article: 10th April 2006. My 40,000th edit: 11th April 2006. My 45,000th edit: 2nd January 2007.
I'm rather proud of the fact that about two thirds of my edits are to articles, rather than to Talk pages etc. We are writing an encyclopædia, after all.)
My attitudes to Wikipedia (an excuse for some moans)
My main attitude, of course, is the desire to help build this into an ever more useful reference work and information centre. I've some more specific thoughts, however:
- Votes for deletion. There's a tendency on the part of some editors to see this as their most important task. Well, it is important, of course; removing what's inaccurate, misleading, or biased is as important as adding what's accurate, helpful, and neutral. On the other hand, an overzealous attitude can lead to the removal of genuinely useful material that's of minority interest.
- One frustratingly annoying habit is the appeal to Google — the unargued (and largely unchallenged) assumptions being, first, that any topic worth mentioning appears on the Web (and with a frequency that reflects its importance), and secondly, that Google is wholly accurate. The latter is relatively insignificant, but the former is breathtakingly and demonstrably false.
- The most significant area is people, though: whilst the smallest village in the U.S. has its own page, with full and tedious census details, let someone add an article about an academic, actor, writer, etc., who isn't widely known and acknowledged, and a pack of editors appear, yapping that the person isn't ‘notable’. Leave aside the inconsistency for a moment; many of those who are claimed to be non-notable by this Afd-pack are known to and have affected more people than all the nay-sayers put together (one sometimes wonders if that isn't the problem).
- Update. My basic attitude remains unchanged, but as Wikipedia becomes more popular, more and more an more people are using it to advertise/puff themselves or their friends. There are therefore more genuinely unencyclopædic articles being added now.
- Voting in general. There's a disturbing tendency on the part of many editors to jump into a discussion, vote without reading any of the comments, and then leave. The main symptom is a terse comment that clearly ignores what's gone before, and even seems to have been made in ignorance of the object of the discussion (see, for example, here, or the full, depressing debate here). It can make the business of voting a farce. Some admins take comments into account, and presumably make allowances for this sort of blind (and therefore pretty irrelevant) voting, but some just mechanically tot up the numbers.
- Admins. The vast majority of admins with whom I've had contact have been helpful, considerate, and professional in their approach. They're human, though, and occasionally one will develop a blind spot with regard to some issue, or a far from disinterested approach, and act against Wikipedia rules. What seems to happen then is that either their behavior is ignored by other admins, or (especially when the clamour of ordinary users is loud) they're subjected to a mild finger-wagging. If non-admins had behaved in the same way, they'd likely have been blocked from editing for a while — either generally or on a specific article or topic. Simple fairness demands the same treatment for the same behaviour — but given that admins are in fact expected to behave better than ordinary editors, it would seem right that they should be treated more strictly when they fall well short.
Now that I am an admin, I hold the same view, incidentally.
- Finger waggers. There's a small group of editors, mainly or wholly admins who have been here for a while, who seem to spend more time lecturing other admins than working on the encyclopædia. Their edit histories typically show an articles-to-Talk/Wikipedia pages ration of 50:50 at best, often very much lower. Together with the many vandals and fanatics who try to take possession of certain articles, they make life here a lot less pleasant and productive than it could be.
- Update. After a brief holiday from Wikipedia of a couple of months or so, I discovered that most of the main culprits had been de-sysopped in my absence. One stress reduced...
- Philosophy I'm a philosopher; why don't I edit the article on my subject? Because it's hopeless. I've tried at various times, and each time have given up in depressed disgust. Philosophy seems to attract aggressive zealots who know a little (often a very little), who lack understanding of key concepts, terms, etc., and who attempt to take over the article (and its Talk page) with rambling, ground-shifting, often barely comprehensible rants against those who disagree with them. Life's too short. I just tell my students and anyone else I know not to read the Wikipedia article except for a laugh. It's one of those areas where the ochlocratic nature of Wikipedia really comes a cropper.
I agree to multi-license all my contributions, with the exception of my user pages, as described below:
|Multi-licensed into the public domain|
|I agree to multi-license my eligible text contributions, unless otherwise stated, under Wikipedia's copyright terms and into the public domain. Please be aware that other contributors might not do the same, so if you want to use my contributions in the public domain, please check the multi-licensing guide.|