My name is Andrew Crawford. I grew up in Scotland but now live in Halifax, Canada where I work full-time in IT as a systems administrator, though I've also been a software developer in the past doing systems programming in C and Perl, specializing in capacity planning for very large compute farms. I work part time on a number of Community television and Multimedia projects, and write and support specialist software for television production.
My academic background is in Computer Science, Geology and Theology (yes really). I'm strongly interested in the history of science and engineering - particularly computing and television, the Holiness Movement and the history of the European settlement of Atlantic Canada. I consider myself a third-rate Renaissance man, much like Galileo would have been if he was slightly lazy and not particularly talented.
|The Article Rescue Barnstar|
|For "watching them speedies" and rescuing new articles that have the potential to grow into something useful from being deleted only minutes after they have been created. I wish there were more of you! JN466 21:56, 25 May 2010 (UTC)|
|What a Brilliant Idea Barnstar|
|Thanks for suggesting the poem tags at Divine countenance— an elegant solution which is new to me. Colonel Warden (talk) 20:55, 1 June 2010 (UTC)|
|The Third Opinion Award|
|I really appreciate the third opinion you left on Sisk Observatory and your User page was very helpful in helping clarify what is an appropriate SD and what is not. Cheers!— -- φ OnePt618Talk φ 03:30, 6 June 2010 (UTC)|
||The Random Acts of Kindness Barnstar|
|You're one of the good guys and I shall aim to be a constructive rescuer like yourself. Selseywill (talk) 23:32, 8 September 2010 (UTC)|
|The Article Rescue Barnstar|
|For rescuing Emma Brown and turning it into a well referenced start article. Keep up the great work and if you ever want to help us with literature articles you are more than welcome, Sadads (talk) 16:42, 6 November 2010 (UTC)|
|The Barnstar of Good Humor|
|For the essay "Watch Them Speedies" on your userpage. Very nice! Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 00:28, 4 May 2011 (UTC)|
I've been an intermittent Wikipedian over the years, but over the last few months it's been increasingly attracting my interest. This is an amazing project which has made a huge difference to the general education of millions of people - all for free. That's something that I'm proud to be part of.
I am not an administrator. I do not have any special authority. But I do often look at the candidates for speedy deletion list and check for inappropriately tagged articles. Please don't take it personally if I remove a speedy tag that you placed on an article; it just means that in my opinion the case is not as cut-and-dried as you thought it was. I probably thought the article could be saved, the topic was notable, or at least, that there was an argument for not deleting it. Speedy deletion is only for entirely uncontroversial deletions. See "Watch Them Speedies" below for more on this.
If you wrote an article that was nominated for speedy deletion, and then I removed the speedy deletion tag, please be aware that your article may still be deleted - and I might even support deleting it - if it is about something non-notable according to Wikipedia policy or if it can't be brought into compliance with Wikipedia standards. Having said that, if I removed the speedy deletion tag, it means it seemed to me that there was hope for the article, and I'll be happy to help you work towards that goal.
A lot of the time I see new users create new articles which are potentially good and worthwhile, but which need a little work to show notability or fix the tone. The articles are sometimes slapped with a speedy-deletion tag by an over-eager editor and speedy-deleted before the article creator has even figured out how to leave a message on someone's talk page! Of course this is terribly discouraging for the new editor. If this sounds like you, I'll be happy to help you out. If you click on the "talk" tab above, then click "edit" you can leave me a message. Don't worry about formatting it or where in the page your message should go - I'll see it anyway and respond as quickly as I can.
Less is More
The main purpose of a Wikipedia article is to present information to the reader in a useful and accessible format. By the very nature of the project, many articles are written mostly by technical specialists who have a high degree of knowledge and excitement about their topic area. Unfortunately this sometimes leads to articles that are mostly only accessible to people who already have the knowledge they were hoping to obtain from reading the article.
- Sometimes we have too much information in our articles, especially in top-level overview articles such as "Geology". As long as the information is available in other articles which are prominently linked, it is best to summarize complex subtopics rather than duplicate them. Wikipedia is not a book that can only be read linearly.
- Our articles often lack high-level organization. This is because they are generally written from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. High-level structure matters a great deal, because it allows readers to form a knowledge map in their brains, understand where the boundaries of the topic are, and know what they don't know.
- Using fewer and simpler words to say the same thing is usually a good idea.
- Prose should always be read aloud as it is being written. If it doesn't sound right when you read it out loud, it's probably harder to read than it should be.
Watch Them Speedies
POW! A7 - no credible claim of importance! Quick, tag that article before someone else beats you to it! ZZAP! G1 - patent nonsense! BOOM! G11 - unambiguous advertising! Awesome! Take that, newbie editor!
I've done it. I'll no doubt do it again. It's quite fun to get into the "tagger zone" and twinkle your way through the new articles queue (or, for extra meanness, the "new user contributions" queue looking for new pages). You want to classify those useless new articles as quickly as possible, because if you don't, someone else will already have done it, and that sucks.
And you know what? 90%+ of the articles that get treated this way probably deserved it. MyDogsAndCatsWebSearchPortal.com really *isn't* notable. Simon Fowler, age 13, will no doubt be a great guitarist one day, and when even one independent music journal writes about him, the Wikipedia page about him will be more than welcome. And Samantha Cairns probably DIDN'T do what that article says she did with Martin Gregory, at recess, in the toilet, and even if she did, you still can't have an article on it. Anyone who doesn't understand why the speedy deletion process is necessary has probably not spent much time looking at the new articles queue.
But. Collateral damage.
Too many articles get tagged for speedy deletion for invalid reasons. Sometimes it's because there's no speedy criteria that matches, but there's a snowball's chance in hell of it surviving an Afd. But often - too often - it's because taggers are too much in the zone, a little bit too prejudiced, and a little bit too lazy. You've never heard of that Bolivian professional soccer player? And you don't care much about soccer anyway? Sounds like an easy A7. And, chances are, whichever admin comes along will either share your prejudices, trust your judgement, or be in the same zone themselves. (ZZZAP! deleted! POW! blocked! etc).
There's no solution here, except that taggers really need to read and internalize the speedy deletion criteria. The definitions there are deliberately narrow. If you have to stretch them to make something fit... it shouldn't be a speedy.