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Not to be confused with User:Piledhighandeep.
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1+ This user has made more than 1 contribution to Wikipedia.

Oh, boy!

I can write, and I can spell, but I can't type! (Luckily, I usually catch my own typos, but—ahem—not always.)

Other details when I get the time, maybe.

Bit by bit, I'm coming back from a Wiki-break. The edit wars, turf battles, and sometimes just-plain nastiness soured me on Wikipedia for a while, but I'm recovering. First, I largely restricted myself to correcting the likes of misplaced apostrophes or flaming misspellings, but now I'm editing for content again....

*****GOT HACKED******

I was spoofed, and then this account was hacked, about 10:10 pm on October 13 (02:10 on 10/14 UT) (2009). Let this be a warning to all of us!


OK, I have learned that I've leaped many ranks up in the all-time list of biggest editors. I didn't realize just what I was doing, and I wonder what they would say at the office...sorry, guys. Anyhow, I'm going to (try to) concentrate more on significantly improving a smaller number of articles. --Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 14:36, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

and thus...

Small scream.png This user wastes far too much time editing Wikipedia.

Pet peeves[edit]

Misuse of the apostrophe[edit]

It’s is not, it isn’t ain’t, and it’s it’s, not its, if you mean it is. If you don’t, it’s its. Then too, it’s hers. It isn’t her’s. It isn’t our’s either. It’s ours, and likewise yours and theirs. —Oxford University Press, Edpress News

It's also not used for plurals, or whenever the hell you feel like it.


Writing for a narrow audience[edit]

Folks, this is a worldwide encyclopedia, and as such should be written so that anybody in the world (with a decent command of English) can understand it. Using abbreviations without explaining them, or assuming that people know something (and therefore not telling what you mean), is antithetical to the Wikipedia mission. Therefore, editors, don't assume that people know about New York City neighborhoods (and mention them without saying you're talking about NYC), or what a U.K. grid reference means, or the significance of some jargon—explain! If a building is "listed", that could mean it's listed for demolition, or for sale, or as a historic site—tell us which! Similarly, "WA" can mean Washington state, or Western Australia, or Western Airlines, or any of a large quantity of other things. If in doubt, spell it out! Justifying an abbreviation or unexplained jargon by saying it's in conformity with the practices of some collection of people, or the such-and-such association, or the whatever handbook, is simply justifying making an article appeal to those in the know, and not people who aren't. Many reference works are for people "on the inside"; Wikipedia is for everybody, even those who are "out". Note that this doesn't mean never use abbreviations or jargon, just spell them out or explain them the first time you use them.


Way back in my educational past, a professor said I didn't need to get "cititis", the mania for (over-)citing every statement. And I agree. If a whole paragraph comes from one source, a single cite at the end will work just fine (each paragraph gets its own cite, even if it's exactly the same as the one before). The problem comes when a one-source paragraph (let's say it has six sentences) gets another sentence, from another source, inserted into it (let's say after the second sentence). The first two sentences of the new paragraph are from the original source, the third sentence is from the second source, and the fourth through seventh sentences are from the original again. However, if the editor who adds the new sentence isn't careful about it, the new paragraph will look like the first three sentences are from the second source, and the last four sentences are from the first. Whether this results from laziness or uncertainty that the first two sentences came from the first source, the result is the same. If another editor inserts a sentence from a third source after the sixth sentence, it could look like the first three sentences are from the second source, the next four are from the third source, and only the last two are from the first source, when actually six sentences are.

Inferior references[edit]

As a general rule, it seems to me that using an inferior reference is better than using none at all. To be sure, we'd prefer to have the best reference available for any assertion, but sometimes, that's just not available right now. It seems that a cite to a less authoritative source should be used. After all, there's even an individual flag for such cites: {{refimprove-inline|date=March 2013}} gives [better reference needed]. Put that after the secondary-reference cite, and go look for a better one! Don't simply delete the sentence!

Secondly, what is an acceptable reference would depend on the fact sought to be supported. A statement as to the exact polar diameter of the Earth should come from a solid scientific source (preferably more than one). A statement that there is controversy on a particular topic, especially if the topic isn't at the forefront of intellectual discussion, might be perfectly adequately supported by a couple of references to message boards.

Common knowledge[edit]

A number of times, people have responded to my flagging uncited statements or passages by saying, in substance, that the subject matter is common knowledge and thus doesn't need a citation. It's remarkable to me what some people seem to think is "common knowledge" (e.g., "common knowledge from basic university level mechanical engineering textbooks", as one correspondent put it). You'd think that "common knowledge" means "well, my close friends know it." But to return to an earlier point, Wikipedia is supposed to be for everybody, not just black belts in movie trivia or engineering. As a quick rule of thumb, if your grandmother doesn't know it, it's not common knowledge.


I know that wordiness has a connection with education and importantness, but it's foolish to load down an encyclopedia with extra verbiage. It's almost always better to use a simpler phrasing (as long as it means the same thing). A few examples:

"due to the fact that" should be "because"

"utilize" . . . "use"

"of all time" . . . "since 1900" (or 1950, etc., or even "in history". Did you notice how pompous that "of all time" accolade is? Like we who are alive today can judge the musicians of the Baroque era, the Victorian era, etc., despite never having heard them.)


Some editors appear to follow the "local teeveenews" approach to article illustrations: if a picture has even the smallest, threadiest connection with an article, put it in. No matter that the plane in the picture isn't the one mentioned in the article about the crash; or the one the article's subject flew briefly in a war long before he did what he's famous for, or is even painted the same way, it's a picture! You'd think Wikipedia was a coffee-table book, not an encyclopedia!

.  The This user puts two spaces after a period.

...or other punctuation ending a sentence