User:Wikid77

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Wikipedia user Wikid77 (alternate account: Wikid77b) is an American computer scientist, world traveller, and wiki-inventor.

His interests include astronomy, search engines, programming, computer graphics, ergonomics, electronic encyclopedias, and advanced wiki-formattting. He's the guy, in school, who corrected the answers in the back of the Physics textbook ("Don't ya hate people like that?").

He has been editing Wikipedia since mid-2005 (or earlier), in over 15,000 articles.
Contact by: leave him a user-talk message: he checks Wikipedia daily, but is extremely busy, often gone over 13 hours, never reads Wikipedia on vacation. Alternate account Wikid77b is used for testing and minor edits.

"Some people see things as they are and ask "Why?" but I dream things
that never were and ask, "What the heck is taking you guys so long?..."
-Wikid77, after RFK.


Hints[edit]

  • For rapid edit, turn off "Show edit toolbar" (Click "my preferences" tab "Editing").
  • An article intro can be edited as part zero "&action=edit&section=0".
  • Use ref-tag footnotes: <ref>...</ref> displayed by <references/>.
  • Always copy the edit-buffer (^A^C) in case web transmission loses the page.
  • Focus on big issues: it is shocking how, into 2011, major topics are still missing.

Details[edit]

Flag of Texas.svg
Nopngs.gif This user knew massive PNG-format images were often 8x to 21x slower than JPEG or GIF images in WP / Wikimedia in 2007.
User browser firefox.png   This user uses Mozilla Firefox to   update Firefox every hour.
Asw1.jpg
This user is a member of the Association of
Structurist Wikipedians
.
511,700+ This user has made more than 511,700 contributions to Wikipedia.
en This user is a native speaker of English.
de-1 Dieser Benutzer hat grundlegende Deutschkenntnisse.
Question mark.svg This user is a member of the Missing article WikiProject.
GT This user attends or attended Georgia Tech.
C++ This user can program in C++.
C This user can program in C.
Java This user can program in Java.
<html> This user can write HTML.
This user enjoys photography.

All Wikipedia articles: 4,496,614  Edits: 711,047,879.

Revisions per article: 21.74   

To do[edit]


Here are some tasks you can do:

Wiki opinions[edit]

Originally intended as the "sum of all knowledge"  (vision), WP efforts continued as the "sum of all censorship" in late 2008, as suggestions were deleted, text was trimmed or simplified, with images or maps cut to reduce data. Many people quit in disgust during 2006-2011, unable to handle the negative chaos.

Wiki collaborations have been often wide-open territory, ruled by groups, or individuals who live to wiki and edit upon waking. There is little protection for normal people, except in a WikiProject or such. Diversity is not sought, since "consensus" often ranks higher than "correctness" and power is controlled by groups. If you want civility, join or form a group: else, the Law of the Old West applies, so don't get stabbed in the back. (more...)

Useful links[edit]

Friends[edit]

  • Everyone, hopefully.

Useful Templates[edit]

Useful or Interesting Pages[edit]

Articles edited[edit]

Keeping revisions below 35,000 extensive edits, I have worked on over 15,000 WP articles, thousands anonymously, including:

I would have made over 442,000 edits, but I learned (after months) to edit offline, then check an article's revision history to merge multiple edits, using just one SAVE operation. Tips:

  • Copy to text editors: copying the edit buffer to a text editor allows multi search-and-replace.
  • Use subheaders: Collaboration is simplified using titled sub-sections for each person to edit. The top section is zero ("action=edit&section=0").
  • Log multi-changes: Edit-summary lines can be long: 5 or 6 sets of changes can be abbreviated as just 1 edit-summary save.
  • Copy before Send: Copy (ctrl-C) the edit buffer before Preview/Save in case a send transmission-error loses the edit data.
  • Paste into text editors: Paste (ctrl-V) the edit buffer before Preview/Save in case the browser dies (Microsoft Internet Explorer can die & fry previous clipboard contents).
  • Avoid other edits: Check revision-history to avoid when revisions are frequent, or edit during slow periods of activity.
  • Avoid busy articles: Anticipate changes being reverted depending on peer comprehension, and consider updates to other thousands of quiet, but significant articles, instead.
  • Avoid one-word changes: (make over 10 changes at once) when fixing a spelling error, also add text or source footnotes; make each revision 10x times more significant.
  • Seek helpers: There are many dedicated people, but rare, who can adjust thousands of articles if alerted to better avenues. It is more important to be pleasant than clever, because the world does not revolve around Wikipedia. From Harvey, "I've tried both, and I recommend pleasant."
  • An edit-page window can be updated between sessions by login via a 2nd window, then previewing differences to merge intermittent changes as just one save.

Double-checking of modifications can avoid creating another 20,000 edits, by waiting and combining updates as one save operation. Remember: Many planned changes can be postponed until other changes are ready; tolerance for vandalism has provided tolerance for "late" changes to be batched together.

Images edited[edit]

I have created and uploaded hundreds of images, many to Wikimedia Commons.

Comments[edit]

  • Wikipedia has struggled for years, but, like the initial years of the Internet, the information is maturing. Rampant vandalism is being fought by protected articles & anti-vandal bots.
  • I have added hundreds of articles, mostly historic or year-in-topic.
  • The search for knowledge is a fool's errand. The most valuable knowledge I have learned is to be polite and forgiving with other people (although WP can be an extreme test of patience!).
  • Wikipedia feeds articles to Citizendium & Veropedia.
  • (The name "Wikid77" is a contraction for "Wiki id77" as a user name.)

Travels[edit]

Wiki opinions continued[edit]

The Wikipedia collaboration is a vast organization that allows, not only writing in encyclopedia articles, but also copy-edit revisions of articles, writing reviews of articles, and judging deletion/cleanup of various articles and templates, etc. There are many groups of cooperating users, some organized as WikiProjects, and some acting as "inter-wikicity gangs" with limited civility (speaking euphemistically); however, the Wikipedia universe is vast enough to just ignore some groups and focus on wide-open areas of frontier articles. In 2010, there will still remain thousands of articles that can be revised/expanded without clashing with groups of a particular mindset. Thousands of important articles are still drafts, and major topics still have no article: I created "Merger mania" in Wikipedia's 6th year.

Writers needed: For people who are good at writing but strongly dislike the idea of their articles being hacked within 2 months, the process of review writing might be a better avenue, since reviews are based on personal written remarks, not subject to such rehashed writing. However, even in articles, original authors are usually free to correct added text for grammar errors and awkward word-flow, which often gets introduced within a few months of the original writing. Thousands of new articles have been requested, such as:

Freedom awry: Wiki efforts are hindered by the catch-22 problem of "freedom of editing" which allows anonymous truth to be revealed, but more often allows anonymous slanting or hacking of articles. A large amount of slanting is done by registered users, because there is little to "block" any registered user against psychological or commercial tainting of text (or images): if users were blocked for slanting, they could return as an IP address or sock-puppet name, so blocking is currently a waste of time, resulting in rampant slanting. In extreme cases, wiki-terrorism is facilitated when people become upset and generate widespread hacking of articles.

Screening needed: Despite complex anti-vandal, robotic bot edit programs, reliability of articles remains a major problem in Wiki efforts, which need a verification process before release. Almost any article, after hours of polishing, can be hacked to add "not" or defamatory "was widely condemned for child abuse" (etc.). To avoid errors, many articles are just hollowed to the verifiable basics, dumbing down Wikipedia, except where nerd herds rule over numerous technoid who-cares articles. Most articles should have an honest top disclaimer stating, "Unverified: articles often contain errors or hidden jokes" as a warning to readers. Wiki credibility could be improved by a 2-step approach that would release screened articles to be tagged "Verified" or "Reviewed" (less binding), for facts and serious tone, while hacked articles continue the warning "Unverified" before screening. Screening actions could be widespread, similar to widespread editing, but disallow anonymous (or same-ID) self-screening, making editing and screening as 2 separate steps, with screening accountable to user name.

Mob rule: Large areas of wikis are run by mobocracy voting. Numerous edit wars and conflicts exist in some highly popular groups of articles, especially in recent events or news articles. In those conflicts, typically 99% of debates are decided by mob rule, not mediated reason. Some article cuts are extreme, such as the deletion of the statement that the Virginia Tech shooter was "suspected of prior bomb threats and had been under investigation" for months: that statement was immediately censored as "clever vandalism" (only to be justified days later by news that school officials had referred him to psychiatric counseling).

Avoid trouble: As in any psychological conflict, it is better to avoid conflicts involving people or groups with severe mindsets: it is difficult to know who is "gunnysacking" resentment against another person. Just walk away into another open frontier of the Wiki universe, until policies are developed to restrict such difficult people. Troubled people might seem to be living in an unreal world, but they could be discovering real residential or workplace addresses. Some people have made daily stalk-edits, tracking another user, for months. Beware the "En-psycho-pedia".

Future open: From what I've seen, the Wiki concept could be extended to greatly improve reliability, but allow anonymous editing of articles outside a screening phase, warning users to refer to the fact-checked revision as screened for accuracy (this eventually happened in German Wikipedia). Perhaps users could select a setting to default to viewing screened articles (when available). Rampant hacking could be reverted by an "undo-all" tool to revert all unscreened changes by a given user. However, many people have quit using WP due to the demoralization of hacking and censorship that thwarted their efforts to improve the maturity of the text. Boundaries should be added to ensure respect, as needed, to mature beyond "Kidipedia".

WP problems[edit]

There are many problems, easily hundreds, with priority depending on what each person wants. Some problems are:

  • Weakipedia: Many articles have limited, hollow content that still lacks simple reference footnotes to support claims. Because many articles were created as quick stubs, with no follow-up plan, they have remained weak and hollow (for years). Also wiki collaboration lacks the power to deter troublemakers, since the system is too weak to "ban" people, while "freedom of editing" allows users to hack articles from hundreds of anonymous IP addresses. Anyone with a mindset or corporate agenda can "hire" people to slant wiki articles, and so information is only revised as neutral due to extensive efforts of many part-time volunteers. Ask any school teacher what would happen if chemistry labs were left unlocked day-and-night (also see: poisoning wells).
  • Hunches: Some articles contain several hunches about the information, even though many articles could be sourced with verifiable footnotes, within only 2 hours of editing. There is great potential for management to direct efforts in quick, effective avenues, rather than let trivial minor edits dominate the landscape.
  • Edit wars: A huge amount of time is wasted in "edit wars" due to a lack of focus in writing. Most conflicts are decided by mob rule, so joining an active group can help resolve some conflicts.
  • The vision thing: Unlike organizations that teach a short overview of project vision and supportive goals, wiki efforts can seem like mindless chatter. Joining any of the various WikiProjects could help provide some vision to avoid wasting efforts on useless activities.
  • Unsourced images: Within 6 months, any non-free image is likely to be deleted as a total waste of time. Uploading popular images, CD or book covers requires complex, specific "fair use rationale" that takes time to handle smoothly. Perhaps 3 or 4 solid days of examining other non-free images/sounds should be spent to better understand how fleeting those files can be, and avoid the wasted time of uploading non-free files that will be axed within weeks.
  • Subheader traditions: A "typical" wiki article has specfic subheader titles and almost never has an "overview" section, for separate editing, so keep the lede section short, and add subheaders such as History, Career, Family, Legacy, etc. The ending bottom sections are typically given exact subheader names (in order): See also, Notes, References, External links, as fully described in the WP article "Wikipedia:Guide_to_layout" (or WP:GUIDE).
  • Wiki life is messy, clean it up: Many mainstream articles will get amended and hacked, within 2 months, so just like rooms open to the public, expect cleanup: check old facts, new word-flow or commas, and use the History-diff options to detect overlooked vandalism. People with great ideas are not always the best writers; when choosing between facts and grammar, the cleanup can wait. If the cleanup would aggravate writers, wait longer. Don't sweat the small stuff: focus on major articles, adding sources. Minor errors are common and OK: many people already fix one word per article (sad but true). Also, articles can be added to your watchlist; however, other people also help repair wording.
  • Strict consistency: Even though a consistent format can allow repeated edits to a pattern or common displays from a template, some people try to use "consistency" as a means of suppressing changes. Quoting "consistency" is a false justification, because the first improved article is inconsistent with the others. Use the 80-20 rule, and accept that 80% of particular articles being consistent is a plateau goal, but remember that only 20% of particular articles will be read by 80% of all users. That viewpoint avoids the push for strict consistency.
  • Psycho-pressures: With millions of articles and images to sort/revise or remove, there is a frantic tendency to go, go, go. Few take the time to recruit or mentor others to be productive team players. Rather than teach others to focus on writing/uploading quality files, many people are obsessed with slashing, trashing and deleting the unfocused stuff that gets thrown hourly into the wiki giga-bit-bucket. The lack of visionary teamwork produces a somewhat psychotic, adversarial attitude (of almost everyone), fostered by fringe element types that are slanting articles or scattering corporate "ads" in hopes to mass-market via wiki. Some people seem compelled to struggle faster, harder, as if speed and determination will end the need for garbage trucks in a city. It's another fool's errand. The wiki world seems a chaotic mix of "stamping out fires" while trying to hold sandpiles of accuracy in bare hands. The burnout pressures are very great.
  • No feedback: Visionary management would use customer feedback and trend analysis to analyze responses from users and track which article groups are read most (at what time of the year), in order to focus efforts in those arenas as trends are spotted. However, privacy was threatened by snooping, so Wikipedia no longer reports who is reading what, which a search-engine might log for various government snoops. But, other websites are counting Wikipedia page-views.
  • Bots gone bonkers: Several robotic "bot" processes edit articles for trivial fixes, such as upper/lowercase, or reverting vandalism. By mid-2008, bots were choking Wikipedia, even fixing "spelling errors" in vandalism, with over 1 million new revisions per week, clogging disk storage. Why is Wikipedia so slow? Well, duh, all changes must be re-saved (daily) for disk backup. But of course, "Don't worry about performance" (WP:PERF), even when people have good ideas, some developers do not want to hear about them, or are too distracted with trivial changes to the MediaWiki software.
  • Wackopedia: Many Wikipedia articles are slanted in a vast array of subjects, by people with severe mindsets. You think you know strong attitudes, but you have no idea. Psychotic people should not be blamed alone, for living in fascist countries, having a father like Chancellor Hitler, coping with Mommie Dearest, or being a product of fetal alcohol syndrome, etc. However, be aware that more than 60,000 articles are slanted, purposely biased by the unbalanced, for whatever agenda. A employee was once paid by Microsoft to slant tech articles. Road maps are removed. Cleopatra was wikified as an alluring beauty, rather than a 27-language polyglot who controlled the vast wheat fields of Egypt. Wikipedia is a psycho magnet with glue, like flies on stink sealed in varnish. Once they conclude they are effectively warping the world, they remain for years before psycho-burnout (or become reporters for the communist party?). What the hey? I only reveal this (bias problem) in hopes that wiki policies could one day change to prevent such slanting of tendentious copy as being article contents. Yes, numerous people have left WP in disgust, some of them even out-psychoed the others into quitting, so the impact is real in articles, as well as people. Always beware that articles might be slanted, and check outside sources when possible.

Those are just a few of the many wiki-issues. Stay tuned for more....

Awards[edit]

It took me years to finally create this section, more focused on articles, than appreciating other users presenting gifts.

Vitruvian Barnstar.png The da Vinci Barnstar
For fixing a complex coding error in Template:Google Inc. when no one else could figure it out! - Ahunt (talk) 02:54, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Graph WP extended growth 2025.gif
  • Good essay: Your essay Wikipedia:Modelling Wikipedia extended growth looks very good. I would suggest to add an introduction and a link to Wikipedia:Modelling Wikipedia's growth. As you might know I introduced the 3, 4 and 5M limit as the maximum number of articles on the english wikipedia (the logistic model). This as contrast to the belief that growth was exponential. My model was created in March 2006, THREE YEARS ago. Until this essay I have not seen new models. HenkvD 18:54, 28 March 2009
  • Kudos for the work on image placement: Thanks for the effort you put into dealing with the issue of placing images when there is already a floating table. I fear that there were quite a few nights put into it. I'd given up worrying about a response after a week. I'll have to look more carefully at it when I can find the headspace. And thanks for the border + cellpadding tip. Cheers. -- spincontrol 23:01, 11 April 2009 (UTC)


Vitruvian Barnstar.png The da Vinci Barnstar
For fixing the convert template's ft-in to cm conversion and eliminating significant conversion errors in thousands of articles, I award you this barnstar. And so should WikiProject Basketball! JN466 09:08, 2 November 2009 (UTC)


Kercher Knox house Perugia Italy.gif
  • Thanks for Kercher flat concept diagram: Wikid77, Thanks for including the new Kercher flat concept/diagram. It looks great and makes it easier for the reader to understand the story. Zlykinskyja (talk) 22:34, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, yes, very welcome. I have, though, a slight problem with the text beneath it - please see its Talk. Rothorpe (talk) 01:40, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Thanks on Convert templates: Thanks for your work with {{convert}} and its many subtemplates. It's time someone took them in hand. I can't shake the feeling that it might be better to start from scratch and design a sensible, simpler and efficient template which does the job. ..., but they are a real handful, and I don't think having hundreds of subtemplates is the best route to go. What do you think? — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 17:06, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Thanks on Convert templates: A big thank you for sorting out the miles/chains template, hopefully you should see the fruits of your efforts as part of a FA penciled in for June 2011. Lamberhurst 21:26, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
  • For Convert with mid-text: I'm really making hay of articles like CFPL Television Tower now that you have added mid-text capability. Just wanted you to know that your efforts are not being wasted. Have fun! Chris the speller 19:58, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
For all your difficult work with the many Convert templates  Ronhjones  (Talk) 23:12, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you, to everyone, for those awards.

Thanks![edit]

Original Barnstar.png The Original Barnstar
For a lengthy series of smart, perceptive, and analytical comments about Wikipedia as an institution on Jimmy Wales' talk page. Your work on these topics is appreciated. Carrite (talk) 01:28, 6 June 2013 (UTC)