User:Thomas Craven

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Thomas Craven
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30+
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Hello! My name is Thomas Craven and I am a TMT (tech, media, and telecom) equity analyst living and working in New York City. I've been an avid Wikipedia reader and occasional editor since 2001, when I came by way of Slashdot. It is now 2013 and I am eager to become more involved editing and contributing to Wikipedia and Wikivoyage through a "real name" account. I also hope to become an active part of Wikimedia New York City. At the very least, I will continue to donate!


Music barnstar for Outstanding wikichievement in the Field of Excellence --Marlow4 10:12, 6 March 2014 (UTC)


Articles I've started[edit]

Articles I've nominated for deletion[edit]

To do[edit]

  • Active share
  • North River Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Tom Wheeler (FCC)
  • Pursue merger/edits of touch football/flag football/street football.
  • Standard cuts of meat template? - URMIS, uniform retail meat identity standards, meat track* Take and add (or track down) additional photos for Category:Wikipedia_requested_photographs_in_Manhattan. 834 Fifth Avenue?
  • Chelsea Rec Center mural photo?)--categories?
  • Tony Dapolito Rec Center, East 54th Rec Center, Asser Levy Rec Center (w/in Asser Levy Public Baths), rec center/parks cat
  • Genius Electronic Optical Co., Ltd
  • Epic Win (application)
  • Swatch Group/Swatch
  • Get involved at the Teahouse!
  • Start to get involved on Wikivoyage.
  • M&A template?
  • Vocus?

Wikiprojects:[edit]

Perspectives on new editor engagement from a new editor[edit]

The "oh shit" graph

I've been actively editing--and reading about the editorial process--for a couple weeks now, and it has occurred to me that a narrative of my experience may be a useful complement to data on editorial engagement.

I intend to update this page as I reach editing milestones with my perspective on those experiences seen through the lens of engagement. To begin with I will separate these into "Specific experiences" documenting what happens and how I feel about, and "Observations and general thoughts" where I can try to articulate my opinions about the process.

Specific experiences[edit]

  • I created my user page and started making minor edits and reading up on assorted policies/guidelines/talk pages at the end of January 2013. I went about this in the same way I think most people go about reading Wikipedia--one page would take me to another and before I knew it I'd read part of a dozen different articles but not actually finished the initial one. As of today I still haven't finished all the initial various welcome guides and policies one would ideally expect to start with, though I'm sure I've read a lot of very obscure essays and discussion pages one wouldn't expect a new editor to stumble across.
  • My first interaction was with SineBot, and it made me feel mildly chastised. I had incorrectly checked a box making my sig plain text during account setup, which then made me feel like I had publicly failed a simple puzzle while trying to contribute to a puzzleocracy (see below). The immediacy of the bot's response made it feel more severe, and the fact that it wasn't possible for me to "fix" my mistake myself prevented closure. I still don't totally understand why Talk page edits aren't signed automatically, but despite the fleeting feelings of shame and negativity I did at least come away from the experience with much better sig discipline!
  • The name change process was quite positive, both because it led to an interaction with another editor and because I felt that I'd successfully solved the "puzzle" of changing one's user name. The mechanics of the process seemed a bit arcane, but I was able to find a page walking me through what to do, I did it, and a helpful user (Tyrol5) posted to warn me about the implications of a real name account. This was my first interaction with a human editor, and it was very positive. Tyrol5 posted a "belated" welcome template on my Talk page, which I found gratifying and motivating. I studied his User page as I have studied quite a few others by now to get a better sense of active editors here.
  • Finding WikiProjects was reassuring, and I picked out three that I feel I will be able to contribute to in a focused way beyond the odds & ends editing I feel comfortable with so far.
  • Finding the category of Buildings in Manhattan That Need Pictures gave me a chance to upload and post my first photo (a building on my walk home), which was a very rewarding experience.
  • Setting up a user page, finding userboxes by looking at other editor pages, and ultimately seeing the category links the userboxes added at the bottom of my page allowed me to find the other CFA charterholders on the site. There seem to be 4 of us (!). I reached out to Rjlabs and had a brief but very encouraging and informative exchange about financial topics/expertise and the site. This made me realize that I have a lot to offer the project.
  • I have waited several weeks to start my first article because of the tension between wanting to be bold and not wanting to make a mistake. I initially wanted to read all the welcome links and the relevant links that spring from them; eventually I realized that would be way too much, and also a sub-optimal way to learn to edit well. I was finally spurred to create an article on the eve of my first Wiki meetup.
  • I have seen a number of links to the Teahouse and spent some time there, though I haven't fully engaged with it yet because it feels more social and public, making me more apprehensive about making a basic error I could have avoided by reading all the welcome guides. While a real name account has no doubt increased my editorial restraint and limited/exposed personal bias, and it certainly makes me interact with the community in a real-life way (that is, understanding there are consequences and that civility matters), it has also made me less bold.
  • My first interaction with the help IRC channel came from the welcome page. Having my nickname instantly revoked for failure to identify myself to claim it and then being reassigned a Guest # was not the most welcoming way to begin things, but the people there were wonderfully nice. I went to point out that the Welcome Page link to a .pdf returned a 404, which I also posted about in the relevant Talk page and on the User Talk page of what looked to be an administrator (Pine). Pine corrected the link the next day, and I hope my flagging it helps future new editors.
  • I'm very much looking forward to the 2/23/13 Wikipedia Day NYC meetup! It is literally going to a party where you don't know anyone, though I expect to find a welcoming group and am certain I'll find people with a common interest.
  • The meetup was definitely a success overall! I look forward to the smaller monthly meetups, and I came away enthused enough to research and start another article (Chelsea Recreation Center) the next day. That experience led me to poke around WikiProject NYC a little more and realize that one of the more involved Wikiproject contributors previously seems to have been banned for being the sock-puppet account of a journalist who had been banned for writing about himself (as near as I could tell) and then lying to the ArbCom about it in the face of compelling CheckUser data. Drama! Having heard from User:Timotheus Canens about the ArbCom at the meetup, and from User:Daniel Case about what CheckUser is and how it is used responsibly I was at least able to follow the drama as I clicked through the banned user's talk page history...but man, what a lot of it there was! It makes me wonder if the Wikiproject NYC is lacking for the loss of the banned user's leadership right now, or if it is moving at a typical pace for a Wikiproject. That's something I plan to keep an eye on, as I would love to participate in some edit-a-thon and outreach action in Manhattan.
  • At the same time, looking at traffic stats for my 3G Capital stub and having to start the Largan Precision article has made it clear to me that there is a LOT more low-hanging fruit in the corporate world. Building out parks & rec articles and improving the NYC history quality is fun and interesting, but building out the corporate articles probably has a bigger impact.
  • I should also add that the meetup made it clear to me that shockingly few people (including me) seem to fully understand the rules for photo uploading/linking/licensing.

Observations and general thoughts ***WARNING: CONTAINS PARTIALLY-INFORMED OPINIONS***[edit]

  • Intimidation. I am tall and white and walk around Manhattan like I own the place. I am the embodiment of western privilege, and that has imbued me with transgressive personality traits such that I don't think I've been intimidated in real life since...I don't remember the last time. And yet, I find Wikipedia intimidating. I'm still thinking about what this means exactly, but I'm sure that the feeling translates to other new editors and plays a major role in recruitment and retention.
  • Technical intimidation. The editing interface is not entirely intuitive, but I have found that it can be pretty easily conquered by anyone willing to put in the time and smart enough to copy text from other pages and use the "Show Preview" button liberally. In effect, the interface for editing Wikipedia is puzzle the editor must solve in order to see his changes implemented. Correcting a typo is a trivial puzzle; adding a template or proposing a change to a controversial page and gathering consensus for it is a more complex puzzle. In a way it seems like Wikipedia is a Puzzleocracy. That may just be a cuter way of calling it a bureaucracy or technocracy, but either way I think the setup serves an important purpose.
    • As an addendum here, I absolutely love the Visual Editor. It lowers the bar for quick edits and for textual/flow edits, but by no means eliminates the "puzzleocracy" element of article creation.
  • Social intimidation. I haven't really experienced this yet, but I've also had limited social interaction and avoided controversial articles to date. I did recently nominate an article for deletion, and that is a bit of an emotionally fraught undertaking. I can certainly understand why a well-meaning article creator would feel hurt by a deletion process that isn't handled well.
  • Real life peer engagement As I've gotten involved in Wikipedia I have realized how many incredible potential editors I know, none of whom are actually active editors. I am hoping to get more involved myself before I start recruiting directly, and I'm sure that will be an informative experience as well. But I do feel like having real life relationships with other editors would greatly reinforce my relationship with the project. I expect the NYC Wikipedia Day meetup later this month will be an opportunity to observe and develop these relationships.
  • Subject matter expertise. I just want to mention here how the dynamic of using Wikipedia changes when you go from being a reader to an editor. The former is exciting when I find high quality pages about topics I know nothing about. The latter is exciting when I find low quality pages about subjects I understand well. At this stage in Wikipedia's development I'm very encouraged that my professional expertise is in commercial fields and not academic or cultural fields!