User:Ravenswing

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Hello! I'm a fifty-something paralegal living in western Massachusetts, formerly editing under my real name, which probably ought not be splashed all over the Web as much as it was. My Wikiactivity centers around hockey -- I'm a longtime statistician and sometime SIHR member, hockey journalist and sportscaster -- but I'm interested in everything from military history to politics to roleplaying games (and no, not in the console games that marketing departments insist on calling "RPGs").

Hockey is a marvellous game.

There's a great joy in playing it ...

An enormous thrill in watching it ...

May those of us who love it

Bear witness to fifty more years of it.

- the closing lines of Brian McFarlane's 50 Years Of Hockey, 1969

The usual cavalcade of userboxes[edit]

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Master Editor
and is entitled to display this
Platinum Editor Star.
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This user has created
72 articles on Wikipedia.
Cscr-featured.svgSymbol support vote.svg
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I value quality of articles over quantity, backing merger of related content and deletion where articles violate policy or guidelines.
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H This user has access to HighBeam through The Wikipedia Library
Edit-find-replace.svg This user is a new page patroller.
NUCS small.jpg This user is a proud member of the NU Choral Society!
Blueribbon.png This user is opposed to online censorship.
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Farnsworth branch.JPG This user is a lifelong, avid camper. Forests rule.
6sided dice.jpg This user is a GURPS GM.
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This user rides the FRTA.
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Flag of Massachusetts.svg This user lives in or is from the
United States Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Scales.jpg This user knows the difference between a contract and a quasi-contract, and so should you!.
PC This user is pro-choice.
Man-and-woman-icon.svg This user is straight
but not narrow.
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This user supports the legalization of same-sex marriage
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This user supports a free Tibet.
NU This user attends or attended Northeastern University.
SPR This user roots for the Springfield Falcons!
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Yeah, I've a few.[edit]

Barnstar-goldrun7.png The Running Man Barnstar
For your tireless contributions to the Hockey WikiProject, please accept this barnstar. BoojiBoy 20:49, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
WikiDefender Barnstar.png The Defender of the Wiki Barnstar
For your commentary on the Barbara Schwarz AfD in first half of March 2007, explaining the concept of WP:OR and WP:RS Dennisthe2 21:57, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Random Acts of Kindness Barnstar.png The Random Acts of Kindness Barnstar
I am so sorry, and I want you to have this as an apologetic gift. JONJONBT talkhomemade userboxes 18:01, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
I'm constantly stumbling across your edits, and they are, without fail, shrewd, constructive, and sorely needed. On behalf the internet users of the world, thanks for all your hard work! Fullobeans (talk) 18:56, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
SpecialBarnstar.png The Special Barnstar
Thank you for everything you've done for me and for the WikiProject! Taste the rainbow! Vyrida 10:56, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Barnstar of Diligence.png The Barnstar of Diligence
Re your efforts in resolving the issues relating to Vassallo5448's contributions. LessHeard vanU (talk) 13:40, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Imperialcrownjewels.jpg Your majesty, it gives me great pleasure to bestow these Imperial triple crown jewels upon you, Ravenswing, for your contributions in the areas of WP:DYK, WP:GA, and WP:FC. Cirt (talk) 05:15, 14 December 2008 (UTC).
Civility Barnstar Hires.png The Civility Barnstar
For your rational demeanor during the ongoing diacritics struggle and at WP:HOCKEY in general.  Cjmclark (Contact) 14:03, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Hockey Barnstar 2.png The Hockey Barnstar
For all your fine hockey work over the years ... you’re part of the original Hockey Barnstar class! --Mo Rock...Monstrous (leech44) 22:14, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Rainbow trout transparent.png The Frozen Trout of Seafood Justice
JUSTICE! Keep up the good sense of humour. - The Bushranger One ping only 21:49, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Barnstar of Humour Hires.png The Barnstar of Good Humor
I award you this barnstar for making me laugh with your funny comment on WP:ANI here: ([1]) Soviet King In Soviet Russia, page edit you! 10:21, 11 April 2012 (UTC)


My Rant of the Month (1/14)[edit]

An occasional column for rants of mine that I wanted to memorialize. For past rants, see my Rant Archive.

So ... I've been running a bunch of XfDs on articles from a particular editor. Another editor kindly sent me e-mail, concerned that I would be seen as unfairly targeting this fellow and wondering how I'd respond. I just composed an answer, which it seemed useful to turn into my first Rant of the year.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

... I already have my answer to that:

1) These are all BLP articles, and in almost every case, the only refs are to stat blocks on EliteProspects and Hockey DB. WP:BLP speaks explicitly and at length about the degree to which we need to be aggressive on whacking down unsourced BLPs.

2) For years now, X has demonstrated his contempt for policies, guidelines or consensus where they conflict with his own POV as to How Things Should Be. Aside from the blocks he's had, this behavior has earned him permanent topic and page move bans on any article where diacritics might be an issue. As far as WP:NHOCKEY criteria goes, he has for years now edited against consensus. It isn't that he's unaware of consensus; I can link to several years worth of WikiProject talk pages where his open advocacy of the notability of fringe leagues and fringe awards has been met with uniform and explicit consensus against his POV.

3) In the particular case of these AfDs, he's consistently miscategorized the criteria, when he hasn't outright lied about it. He cannot be unaware, after years' worth of debate over it, how consensus has interpreted the criteria ... especially since on three occasions now, his actions have been the direct provocation for the original "common sense" criteria to be tightened up. Beyond that, he's not acting to clean these articles up. Instead, he keeps arguing for delay ... to have articles tagged instead of AfDed, to introduce this venue or that to the layers of complexity to change the criteria. Notably absent are attempts, any visible attempts, to clean these articles up. Despite his protestations that he has found sources which satisfy the GNG in some of these AfDs, in not one case so far have any of those sources found their way into the articles. Given his history of bad faith, I'm calling his bluff: produce those sources.

4) If a newcomer were guilty of these actions, some admin or other interested party would walk down the newcomer's contribution list, vette each article, and either clean up violations or take them to AfD/CSD/Prod. We recognize that this is not "targeting," but an examination of an editor's contribution history where we have strong evidence that the editor routinely violates Wikipedia policy and guidelines, followed by action against those cases where those policies and guidelines have been violated. I've always rejected the premise that there's an unspoken number of edits beyond which an editor may commit such violations with impunity, and beyond which an editor's contribution history becomes immune to examination, and we can all think of many ugly incidents (sometimes dragging on for several years) this syndrome has produced.

Pet Peeves[edit]

  • I am not particularly interested in "putting myself over" Who really gives a damn how many contributions I've made, what articles I've started (somewhere over seventy, for what it's worth), what credentials I have with which to beat you over the head that I am so much cooler than you, or anything other than whether I know about what I'm talking? I'm proud of my work here, and tickled by seeing it recognized, but I'll never post a puffed up list of the articles I've helped bring to FA/GA status (a small heap, so far) or listing my DYKs (eight, so far). I'm more into improving stubs than creating new articles. What Wikipedia needs more than sheer page count is improved quality of articles. Many editors seeking a catchphrase making for an easy slur call this "deletionist."
  • I am extremely particular about grammar, spelling and the non-use of diacriticals. I see no reason why time-honored grammar usages are invalidated just because today's typists are lazy sods, and if you have a burning desire to put umlauts and diacriticals over proper names, go over to the foreign language Wikipedias where such usages are proper -- this is the English Wikipedia, last I checked. (And don't bullshit us; they don't use diacriticals on non-North American en-language websites any more than in Canada and the US.)
  • I care strongly about documentation. If you assert it, you should be prepared to back it up, with a non-Wikipedia verifiable source. If you can't, you should retract it.
  • That being said, computer verification isn't the be-all and end-all of everything. An AfD was filed sometime ago against an author who had jack for Amazon.com sales ranking and not many Google hits. No kidding, folks, he wrote several popular books in the Seventies and early Eighties, pretty much nothing since, and his stuff's gone out of print. Any number of prominent Victorian authors have Amazon rankings which aren't anything about which to write their descendants.
  • Subjects that should be prima facie grounds for CSD: dorm buildings, bands or wannabe auteurs with Myspace pages for lead Google hits, game/fan/mediacruft that received less than ten minutes of screentime or ten pages of action, MMORPG gaming guilds, elementary schools, any portmanteau "X in popular culture" list ... gods, I could go on for a bit.
  • Articles that should be blocked from CSD: Articles within six hours of their creation, unless they're blatant vandalism, hoaxes or attack pages. It drives me nuts to see articles CSDed or AfDed four minutes after their creation, and from watching Special:Newpages, many articles are CSDed seconds after creation. Folks, Wikipedia doesn't give prizes for the first ones to file a CSD. What is your freaking hurry? (Alright, now I realize that this is a hallmark of people shilling for admin. You're getting a firm Oppose from me.) Can we give these people some chance to improve their articles?
  • People who pick over this user page for ammunition to use in AfDs and other discussions: If you think this means you, you may well be right. Needing to find some dirt to fling because you can't win on the merits of the argument is a sure sign that a collaborative encyclopedia is not the environment for you. Maybe Britannica is hiring.
  • There should be a guideline with equal force to WP:BITE - that in their own turn, newcomers have a duty to act respectfully, courteously and with maturity, to make an effort to acquaint themselves with Wikipedia policies and guidelines, and to assume good faith on the part of existing editors who seek to apply them.
  • "!vote" is politically correct weasel-wording - Yeah, yeah, I know we're not supposed to be "voting" on things, although no one's told the RfA process, and the screams of rage when admins at XfD make policy-over-consensus determinations are palpable. That being said, let's get a grip. The dreaded letters V-O-T-E don't vanish by virtue of putting extra punctuation in front of them, and doing so reminds me strongly of my bunny ducking her head underneath a towel and pretending no one can see her. Plainly we need a word that means "registering one's opinion in such a fashion that (usually) comes down on one side of an issue or another." "Vote" is a recognizable candidate for such a word. Chill, folks.
  • To steal the wording from another editor, and in the same fashion as above ... "WP:AGF is not a suicide pact. If someone writes a post with blatant personal attacks, signs another user's name, then starts posting in multiple places calling for the banning of the innocent party, he is a troll. Calling him such is not a failure to AGF: it is a logical deduction." It's maddening how often the aggressor gets off scot-free in the ensuing chaos, because blame-the-victim is SOP. Then again I'm not shilling for adminship, and I've no particular stake in sitting on my butt while trolls, sockpuppets, meatpuppets and crapmongers spill their spew all over the Web.
  • Finally, I care about research. This is an encyclopedia, and not only do we have an obligation to know about what we're talking, we have no right to vote or make edits in willful ignorance -- if you insist on being ignorant, go hang out in a blog instead. It drives me nuts to see AfDs filed on articles where the nom could -- and should -- have taken five minutes to follow up a few Google hits and realized the genuine notability of the subject. It drives me just as nuts to see "seems notable," "seems non-notable," "looks good" and their ilk as reasons to support or reject deletion. Translation = you don't really have a clue. You're really just guessing off of a five second glance at the article, swallowing any presumption whole and racking up a quick meaningless edit on AfD. News flash; no one will give a damn five years from now about your edit count. We are supposed to be building an encyclopedia here, not playing some geeky MMORPG and competing for Game High Score.

Postscript[edit]

"But the biggest worry is that the great benefit of the open-source approach is also its great undoing. Its advantage is that anyone can contribute; the drawback is that sometimes just about anyone does. This leaves projects open to abuse, either by well-meaning dilettantes or intentional disrupters. Constant self-policing is required to ensure its quality."

-- The Economist, 3/18/2006