I love Wikipedia. I love its freedom. I love its egalitarian systems... Wikipedia is some kind of anarchist's beauracracy, with its complex system of policies and guidelines that are community enforced, and its contrasting policy that the rules should be thrown out from time to time when it makes sense to do so. I love that anyone can do most tasks. I love that mistakes are encouraged. I know there's a lot of bullshit and frustration here too, but my experience has been positive and I intend to keep it that way.
I love the grace with which Wikipedia deals with the issues of anonymous editing and hotly contoversial topics. Sometimes, when you're immersed, it may seem like the drama is hopeless - but I think if one zooms out a bit and looks at the whole of it compared to other internet projects with anonymous participation, we're doing great. If the standard is not the elimination of drama (which isn't possible) but the ability to prevent drama from destroying or stagnating the project... Wikipedia is doing this very well.
Editing Wikipedia has made me a wiser consumer of its articles, and also a wiser consumer of information generally. The Wiki is often derided as unreliable, and people emphatically warn that you cannot trust anything you read here. To them I say: "That's true, and it's just as true of most news articles. At least Wikipedia gives you links to check." It's a lesson that I'm grateful for, and perhaps one that I could not have come to by other means. I love the good articles, but what really excites me is finding a bad one worth fixing.
Reading a great article... well, that's a bit like reading an encyclopedia, isn't it? Not so fun. Fun for me is finding a suspicious statement. I narrow my eyes, memorize the citation number, and scroll down... let the hunt begin.
I tend to edit articles that I'm interested in. Because of that I have to be thoughtful about my own POV, and how to remain fair as an editor. It's worth doing though, because I would never have the patience to read PDFs 'til 4 am if I wasn't interested in the material. Often I learn a great deal more about a subject by going through the existing references and googling for new ones. Writing an article, it turns out, is a great way to learn a topic.
Professionally I'm diverse, almost to the point of distraction. I spent some time in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear electrician. I'm a computer programmer, and an automation geek. I've done some factory automation - including vision, servos, PC based control, etc. and commercial building automation, laboratory air control, etc. HVAC, lighting controls, that sort of thing. I tend to focus in on the geekier bits, like LON/BACnet or other integration work, and customer IT network and security considerations. My degree is in Applied Nuclear Engineering Technology, which has exactly nothing to do with my present work.
Because I'm concerned about global warming, and because electricity usage in the commercial building sector is such a large fraction of U.S. energy usage, I'd like to focus my personal path upon improving building efficiency. I'm also fascinated with energy policy as it relates to electric generation, and specifically with the pros and cons of nuclear and the benefits and challenges of renewables such as wind.
I live in Asheville in the foothills of the Appalachians, and it's beautiful there. I regularly visit waterfalls, play my djembe, and think of ways to get geekier than I already am.
I believe passionately in the value and power of honesty.