It is a privilege to be a Wikipedian, one who contributes information for the rest of the world to see. With such privilege comes the responsibility to be accurate and non-judgmental.
Even the best of us is human. No matter how hard we try to be accurate, we all make mistakes. When a mistake is discovered, the person who made it has the following obligations -- 1) Admit it. 2) Correct it. 3) Take care not to repeat similar mistakes.
Suggestions to improve Wikipedia
Below are topics for discussion among Wikipedians. I hope to learn from others, as well as to impart wisdom --
Ease of learning
The tutorials about the basics of editing are fine. So too are the sandboxes that novices can use to practice editing without causing disruption if they make a mistake.
However, things that are more advanced are often too complicated and redundant. For example, creating a Disambiguation page seems as though it ought to be straightforward, but there are at least five pages concerning disambiguation --
- Wikipedia:WikiProject Disambiguation
- Wikipedia:Disambiguation pages with links
- Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)
There should be a page of Disambiguation instructions for beginners, and another page with more details about Disambiguation for advanced users, but having five or more pages on the subject promotes confusion, rather than enlightenment.
Another inconsistency is that some Disambiguation have "(disambiguation)" as part of the page name, while others do not. Is there an easy solution by which Wikipedia can put "(disambiguation)" as part of the name of all disambiguation pages?
Security and responsibility
As my userboxes indicate, nobody should be allowed to edit Wikipedia without registering and signing in. Each registrant should be required to give their name, residence and positive ID to Wikipedia (such information available only to Wikipedian administration). That requirement would reduce vandalism, personal attacks and non-neutrality by at least 90%.
NOBODY except the registered and signed-in user should be allowed to alter that user’s page.
It is reasonable to publicly identify each user who makes changes to a page, but the cumulative history of each user’s edits should be available only to that user (and Wikipedia administration).
There are links on Wikipedia that take the user to sites such as Wikibooks, Wikimania, etc. These sites are spuriously similar in appearance, even going so far as to suggest donations to them. Is Wikipedia doing anything (such as seeking an injunction) to discourage this deception? At least Wikipedia could warn its users about them.
“Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.”
Robert Frost (1874-1963)
“Politics is not an exact science.”
(Die Politik ist keine exakte Wissenschaft) Otto Von Bismarck, 1863
"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."
Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
"I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs."
Samuel Goldwyn, attributed, probably apocryphal)
"The word 'good' has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of 500 yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man."
G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)