User:Pfhorrest

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Education and more about me[edit]

I graduated with highest honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy.

I also graduated with honors from Santa Barbara City College with an Associate of Arts degree in Multimedia Arts and Technologies.

I have a small website featuring some of my art, essays, and stories, a free downloadable mod for the computer game Marathon, and outlines of two works in progress that I hope to someday be my magna opera:

I would love feedback of any sort on any of these projects.

Wikipurpose and wikipersonality[edit]

I am here at Wikipedia primarily to improve obscure corners of the philosophy section. Areas of particular emphasis for my contributions have been Rights and Meta-ethics; here is a complete list of my contributions (minus a few edits from before I registered ).

Neutrality and verifiability[edit]

I place highest emphasis here on maintaining neutrality in the way that things are phrased and organized, even in defense of positions I do not agree with. However, I know I am rather poor at retaining and citing sources, though I appreciate their value. So in sympathy to others with that fault, I will tend to let clear, relevant, and neutrally-phrased contributions stand without citations, usually tagged appropriately, unless I know them to be incorrect, in order to give someone else a chance to properly cite them.

Civility, patience, and kindness[edit]

Civility Barnstar Hires.png The Civility Barnstar
For being unwaveringly productive Tesseract2(talk) 03:32, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
Kindness Barnstar Hires.png The Random Acts of Kindness Barnstar
For spending so much time explaining that dilemma. You have far more patience than I do and you more than deserve this! ----Snowded TALK 20:13, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

I have been called "too kind", but I don't believe there is such a thing. While I find WP:Civil fine as a lowest acceptable standard for behavior here on Wikipedia, I believe that incivility is best responded to not merely with civility but with kindness beyond the level that the incivil party might deserve. This is because in a culture of formal civility, peoples' sensitivity to slights increases, and someone may take offense to a perfectly civil but perhaps too blunt or subtly condescending response. Thus for example, rather than telling someone critical of philosophy that Wikipedia is not a forum and to go study some introductory philosophy — a suggestion that can be made quite civilly — I suggest that he find a notable source to represent that opinion, as Wikipedia is not a forum for our personal opinions, and I suggest a more appropriate article for its inclusion. The difference is subtle and the point is the same, but I find the extra courteous verbosity and supportive suggestions smooth over conflicts and get the point across much better than mere citation of policy and a recommendation to come back when you've educated yourself does.

Peeves[edit]

A handful of things I see frequently in Wikipedia articles irritate me and I make a point of changing them whenever I find them:

  • Use-mention confusion in the first sentence of ledes, e.g. "Term refers to a thing which...". If the article is about a term, word, phrase, etc, and its title is that term, word, phrase, etc it's about then, yes, the article's title may refer to something; but if that's the case, it should be in quotes. Otherwise, we need to say simply "Term is..." something. To illustrate the important difference here:
    • Cats have four legs, no letters, and do not refer to anything
    • "Cats" has four letters, no legs, and refers to adorably furry creatures.
  • Unnecessary inclusion of "In [field]..." qualifiers in ledes, e.g. "In philosophy and political science, negative and positive rights are...". This is only useful if the same term is used to refer to different concepts depending on what field is using them; so saying that "In philosophy of mind, functionalism is..." is useful, because there damn well ought to be something somewhere else saying "In sociology, functionalism is...", as the term means completely different things in those fields. But just stating what fields a term is most commonly used in accomplishes nothing and wastes valuable space in the most important part of an article: the first sentence.