My main contributions to Wikipedia are articles on elections and referendums (at some point I will also create associated articles on the parties that contested the elections), non-League football and Israeli politics (although this sphere is now largely complete at least in terms of the articles being started, and whilst I have many article on my watchlist, I rarely make any edits other than to revert vandalism or fix other edits).
Why I edit Wikipedia
The main reason I edit Wikipedia is a strong belief that every person on the planet has the right to access the accumulated knowledge of humanity. Giving people access to this knowledge allows them to make informed decisions – one only has to look at how desperate repressive countries like North Korea are to stop their citizens finding out the truth to see how important it is. The even sadder thing for me is that access to the facts in a neutral, reliable and trusted source is still needed in the "free" world. I can think of no better example than the recent referendum in my own country in which the ruling party and the majority of the mainstream media (which is supportive of it) colluded to run a campaign largely based on a lie.
Many of the articles I write (particularly recently) are ones on which there is little online information, and are on topics that I feel are sufficiently important that the information should be available more widely (elections, for instance, are a key part of a nation's history). I should note my thanks to Wikimedia UK, who provided me with a grant to purchase Elections in Europe: A data handbook, from which I have written and improved several hundred articles.
And, of course, I edit Wikipedia because I am interested in the topics themselves, and enjoy the research and reading required to write the articles.
At the last count (12 May 2014), I'd started 4,901 articles. These can be grouped into several categories:
|Elections and referendums||2,721||Trying to create articles on every election and referendum to have taken place in a sovereign state or colonial territory. Mostly complete, but some work to do on historical elections, particularly in former colonies.|
|Football||246||Completed all clubs to have played in top division in Israel and in the Eastern Counties League, plus other articles on non-league football clubs, seasons or players to have played for Sudbury Town/AFC Sudbury|
|Israeli places||569||Completed set of articles on all registered towns/villages/regional councils in Israel, plus a few settlements|
|Israeli politics||621||Completed sets of articles on all members of the Knesset, ministers, governments and signatories of the declaration of independence|
|Israeli society||50||Random articles on things like G. Yafit, Hitahdut HaIkarim and basketball clubs.|
|Other politics||12||Random articles on politicians like Aleqa Hammond|
|Other||8||Totally random stuff|
|Places in Suffolk||130||Completed the set of articles on civil parishes in Suffolk|
|Political parties||525||Trying to create articles on every political party to have won a seat in a national legislature|
Did you know
A few articles I created (or in one or two cases, merely contributed to) have been selected for DYK:
- ... that Pinchas Rosen, Israel's first Minister of Justice, served in the German army during World War I?
- ... that the Alignment is the only political party in Israel ever to have held a majority of seats in the Knesset?
- ... that Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit was the only signatory of the Israeli declaration of independence to have been born in the Land of Israel?
- ... that the 1951 Gold Coast legislative election was the first to be held in Africa under universal suffrage?
- ... that the 1967 general election in Sierra Leone saw the first defeat of a ruling party in an election held under universal suffrage in sub-Saharan Africa?
- ... that the Bedouin villagers of al-Sayyid developed their own form of sign language in response to the high rate of deafness amongst their tribe?
- ... that the 1966-68 Liga Leumit season was played over two years in an effort to rid Israeli football of corruption and violence, which included riots on the field?
- ... that Mishmar David was the first kibbutz to be privatised?
- ... that Hapoel Tayibe was the first ever Arab football club to play in the top division in Israel?
- ... that Hussniya Jabara was the first Israeli Arab woman to be elected to the Knesset?
- ... that Gershom Schocken was the editor of Haaretz for over 50 years?
- ... that Abd el-Aziz el-Zoubi was the first non-Jewish member of an Israeli government?
- ... that Shmuel Flatto-Sharon successfully ran for election to the Knesset to avoid extradition to France, where he was wanted for embezzlement?
- ... that Shmuel Rechtman was the first member of the Knesset to be sent to prison?
- ... that Israeli politician and settlement activist Gershon Shafat spent ten months as a Jordanian prisoner of war?
- ... that at just 85 days in office, the sixteenth government of Israel was the shortest-lived in the country's history?
- ... that the twenty-ninth government of Israel was the first to have a non-Jewish minister?
- ... that Edward Francis Small was the first Gambian to be elected to the country's legislative council?
- ... that voter turnout for the 2001 judicial reform referendum in Botswana was just 4.9%?
- ... that the 1957 election in Zanzibar was the first election to be held in East Africa?
- ... that in the 1970 presidential election in DR Congo, Joseph Mobuto received more votes than the number of registered voters?
- ... that Guinea was the only French colony to reject the 1958 constititution in a referendum, thereby opting for independence?
- ... that the 1927 presidential election in Liberia made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most fraudulent ever?
- ... that following a referendum in 1984, Liechtenstein became the last country in Europe to grant women the right to vote?
- ... that it took a replay and then eighty minutes of extra time for Brighton & Hove Albion reserves to win the 1920–21 Southern League title?
- ... that the 2002 Costa Rican presidential election was the first in the country's history to go to a second round?
- ... that by making her debut in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup at the age of 16, Cecilia Santiago became the youngest-ever goalkeeper to appear in a World Cup?
- ... that Japanese international footballer Aya Sameshima worked at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants prior to the disaster there?
- ... that Eynesbury Rovers are the most westerly football club ever to play in the Eastern Counties League?
- ... that following opposition calls for a boycott, voter turnout in the 1983 general elections in Jamaica was just 2.7%?
- ... that the electoral system for the 1883 elections in Egypt was said to have been based on the design of a pyramid?
- ... that the 2011 Micronesian parliamentary elections were the first to feature female candidates?
- ... that Pike's Lane was the venue of the first-ever goal scored in league football?
- ... that despite receiving the most votes in the 1959 elections, the Dahomeyan Democratic Union emerged as the smallest of the three parties in the Territorial Assembly?
- ... that Eric Lawson was the first directly elected MP in the Solomon Islands?
Problems with Wikipedia
Despite my beliefs about Wikipedia's role in providing neutral and reliable information, there are several areas that concern me. Due to a lack of will by admins early in Wikipedia's history, the issue of nationalist editors has never really been dealt with. There are several areas of the project which are almost no-go areas for outside/neutral editors, and many false consensuses have been built up by small groups of editors (usually around five people, which is sufficient to block progress on any attempt at outside involvement (the fatal flaw of the WP:RFC process being that it is not limited to outside editors). The areas I have come across which are particularly problematic are:
- Estonia - attempts to revise history by denying the fact that Estonia was part of the Russian Empire or USSR. This usually manifests itself in insisting that country of birth is listed as Estonia in years when the country was not independent.
- Ireland/Northern Ireland - a key example being the de facto banning of the phrase "Northern Irish" to describe people from Northern Ireland and (similar to the Estonia situation) the refusal to accept that Ireland was part of the UK prior to 1921. As well as the issue over birth places, one particularly stupid example I came across whilst working on election articles was Irish general election, 1918 - an election to the UK parliament that convention dictates should be United Kingdom general election, 1918 (Ireland). Unsurprisingly, a requested move was blocked more than once.
- Israel/Palestine - several years ago the major problem was Israeli bias (refusal to acknowledge that settlements were considered illegal by international law etc), but the pendulum has swung the other way in recent years. Major problems include the refusal to even allow the phrase "Israeli Arabs" in the introduction of the article about those people (despite it being the common name - and those editors that call for the use of the "neutral" phrase "Arab citizens of Israel" are now attempting to sneak "Palestinian Arabs" into articles instead) and attempts to replace "Palestinian Territories" with "Palestine" despite the state not yet existing.
Whilst I have given up on these issues being resolved, the problem still bothers me.
I want to thank you for your recent changes to Ma'agan Michael. The article has been on my mind for a while as one that needed something, but what I didn't know. Now after your edits, I feel that the article is starting to read fairly well. Keep up the good work! « D. Trebbien (talk) 05:30 2008 March 5 (UTC)
For your efforts to improve coverage of East Germany's political history ♦ Dr. Blofeld 19:59, 6 December 2011 (UTC)
For your efforts on San Marino politics. ♦ Dr. Blofeld 17:07, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I thereby award you with The Admin's Barnstar for your continued work of closing discussions listed on the Requests for closure subpage of the Administrators' noticeboard. Keep up the good work. Armbrust The Homunculus 21:38, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
- The Conservative Party claimed that changing the voting system to the run-off voting would cost the taxpayer £250 million, and this was the primary campaigning tool for use on posters and was repeated almost unquestioned by all Conservative-supporting newspapers (which made up the vast majority of the printed press at the time). However, this figure included the £80m cost of the referendum (which was being held anyway) and £130m for electronic voting machines that would be required to introduce it. This was clearly a lie as Australia uses the same voting system but processes votes manually.