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My background
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View from Gaviota Peak, southeast into Santa Barbara Channel; my house is in the picture, but too far away to see. As my small kingdom takes up less than a pixel in this photograph, so any contribution I make to Wikipedia is just a tiny part of the whole.

Long-term Wikipedian, who has been with the project since April 4, 2004 – a slightly shocking thirteen years. The longest I've ever stuck with anything on the internet. Sometimes it's fun; sometimes, not. Main difference between now and then is then I thought I knew more than I actually did. Finishing a doctorate can give you the idea you know more than you do. Reality and humility come in unequal doses, as time hurries by, but come they do, if you let them in the door. Back in 2004 you could just write what you knew in those vast empty spaces longing to be filled. That is true no more. Make sure you have sources, and don't write if you don't understand what you are writing!

I'm mainly a content contributor, although I do other things, including maintenance, since I'm an administrator. Here's a list of articles I've written; sometime in early 2010 the number passed 600. I've written a few things outside of mainspace as well, such as my observations on behavior here on Wikipedia, and some general thoughts.

When I discovered Wikipedia I was immediately enthusiastic. The possibilities of the project for growth, for visibility, for quality, and for its contributors the possibility of just having fun, for any intellectual person who likes to write and happens to have some extra time, were enormous; indeed it was one of the first places I had ever found on the Internet that didn't feel like another few electronic acres of wasteland. I've been here now for over twelve years, and I'm still writing. It's usually a pleasure, at least the writing and editing aspects of the project. Some may think I'm nuts for spending so much time writing an encyclopedia, but I tell you it's exciting to see one's articles shoot to the top of Google rankings shortly after their creation. Not only do I find it exciting, but I increasingly find it to be my duty, as someone having a specific expertise, to put accurate, readable, and well-sourced information into that top Google position.

Master's and doctorate are in music composition, with a minor in music theory; undergraduate majors in both music and geology; seven years of teaching undergraduate and graduate students in music theory, music history, orchestration, ear-training, sight-singing, composition, counterpoint, repertoire, and various other subjects; violinist, pianist, and most recently, thereminist; former editor of a music research journal; moderately obscure composer. Most of my teaching experience is in the classroom, but I have also tutored and taught small groups and individuals.

After leaving academia, for reasons with which I will not bore you, I have increasingly become a musicologist; I have always been fascinated with history, musical trends, the interactions of people and places and ideas; I love figuring things out, and tormenting uninterested friends and relatives with more details about Renaissance Ferrara or Padua or Venice than they can stand. Long ago I learned to recognize that glazed-over look of people who have listened politely for a moment too long, so now I have thankfully discovered Wikipedia. I am here because it gives me an outlet for everything I learned in school, and still love. Here I can share, and if other people can make use of what I write, that makes me happy.

Out of the big university, and being unenamored of a life of poverty and struggle as one of thousands of unemployable people with advanced degrees in a humanities field, I acquired some competence in a few more practical areas of endeavor. I manage a large group of technical people in a huge company. It's very different from studying music, but I'll say this for formally studying music: it gives you discipline, and doggedness in tackling tough problems. Those qualities are more valuable in a corporate setting than you might think.

Occasionally you might catch me writing about the energy industry, history, geography, earth sciences, literature, investing, and a few other things, but for the most part I only do this as a break from writing about music.

My credentials and experience are real and verifiable, to those with a need to know, although at this time I prefer to edit anonymously.

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And I write about
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Gaylor Lakes, Yosemite National Park; another place I like to go sometimes. You can't see my house from here.

Music, mainly. So far I have mainly focused on writing articles on "early music" (Renaissance, early Baroque, and some medieval), because I love it, I know a bit about it, and when I joined Wikipedia, no one else bothered with it. Once in a while I contribute to articles on 20th-21st century composers, music, practice, theory, etc. I usually, but not always, avoid the common practice period, since there are plenty of other contributors capable of writing in this area; why not focus on a spot where I can use my specialized knowledge? A lot of the time when I'm feeling uncreative I do RC patrol and eradicate all the vandalism I can find. It's addictive, and once in a while I have to remind myself to stop and write articles again.

In addition to music sometimes I write articles on California geography and history, since I've lived here a while, have studied geography and geology, and have a pretty good library of books on local history. As I'm probably one of a tiny handful of composers ever to work in an oil refinery -- and find it interesting -- I also write about the energy industry and industrial infrastructure, particularly oil and gas fields. Also sometimes I click on random page and copyedit, if I don't get hooked on reading. Is anyone else surprised at the sheer amount of things you have learned on Wikipedia? In my opinion this is one of the most wonderful things about this project.

Some other random interests: Classics, literature, history, military history, earth sciences, mountaineering, birds, trees, religious traditions, data forensics, European and eastern philosophy. I read a lot, especially English literature, as well as a lot of stuff in translation. While I'm fairly knowledgeable on topics such as Shakespeare, the existentialist writers, Swift, Greek tragedy, epic poetry, and European, Middle Eastern, and South Asian history, I don't usually contribute to articles on those topics; I don't feel my knowledge rises above the high amateur into the "sufficiently expert". There are other writers here who are better, and who know more than I do, and for now I'm going to leave it there. I would politely ask others to at least consider the depth of their knowledge before tackling detailed subjects around which their own experience is limited; but then who am I to tell other people what to do? Do as you will, says Rabelais, but prepare to be reverted (not by me, necessarily, but by someone who actually has studied the topic). This is an encyclopedia, not a trivia site.

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My contribs

As of November 28, 2010: 623 articles, of which 527 were from scratch, mostly on Medieval, Renaissance, and early Baroque composers and theorists, as well as musical techniques and forms. About 400 of the articles I have listed are on early music; about 300 are biographies; others are topical overview articles, articles about individual pieces of music, and other things. I'm probably about half done with finishing the area to my satisfaction, and it's starting to seem like all the low-hanging fruit is gone; now comes the hard work of getting existing articles up to an encyclopedic level of accuracy, detail, prose style, citations, and references. In general, the whole area of early music on Wikipedia still needs a lot of information on just how everything happened, and a lot of articles need to tie in to cultural and political and religious history as well.

Somewhere over 100,000 edits, though I count them rarely. I have never used an automated tool to edit, and plan on never doing so; it's a minor and obscure point of pride for me (which may make no sense to you at all, and that's all right -- and this is no criticism of those who do use Twinkle or Huggle -- they do great work, which at our point of development we cannot do without.) I reached No. 20 on Wikipedians by Edit Count in May 2007, but have fallen back because I no longer spend much time patrolling recent changes. I don't need to: our bots revert vandalism much more efficiently than they used to, and I'd rather yield way to the new users who like to do this job. So I've been around here for a while. Edit count is not irrelevant: it gives some indication of one's dedication to the project. Not an infallible one, mind you, but to deny that there is any correlation between edit count and commitment to building the encyclopedia would be rather silly.

I take article requests. If you spot something that is missing, or just substandard, and it is in the area of early music--or indeed, in "classical" music in general--let me know and I'll do what I can to help, if it is within my area of competence. Since this is a big area, that's a big "if."

I don't chase baubles, such as WP:GA, WP:FA, WP:DYK. My gratitude goes to those who nominate something I have written for those distinctions, and I have no criticism in general of people who do go after those things, but I'd just rather not go there. If you want to know why, you have to ask me privately, but it's not hard to figure out from certain other things I have written.

I like to be helpful. If you want me to read something you have written, or want to run an idea by me, or want to know how to do something, I'll either try to help or point you towards someone who can.

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My boxes
Admin mop.PNG This user is an administrator on the English Wikipedia. (verify)
Ten Year Society userbox.svg This user has been editing Wikipedia for more than ten years.
en This user is a native speaker of the English language.
es-1 Este usuario puede contribuir con un nivel básico de español.
de-1 Dieser Benutzer hat grundlegende Deutschkenntnisse.
pno-4 This user is a professional pianist.
vln-4 This user is a professional violinist.
tmn-3 This user is an advanced thereminist.
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My wikipedia goals
  • Fill out the classical music area in general, and Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque in particular, since the early music area was quite undeveloped when I started.
  • Starve the trolls.
  • Put the readers of our encyclopedia first. All of us need to acquire the humility to realize that we, the editors, are secondary to them. It's not about us.
  • Model the integrity and decency I want to see from others. As I am highly imperfect, this isn't easy, but I do intend to try. On those occasions I want to urge other people to be civil, collegial, respectful, and kind, I do not want to be a hypocrite.
  • Use my administrative tools where doing so improves the encyclopedia.
  • Stay positive. Laboring in the shadows, unacknowledged, is hard after a while.
  • Always acknowledge the good work of others. I'm only a tiny part of the whole.
  • Contribute even more content. Avoid the typical burnout curve of ceasing to contribute to articles, increasing edits to policy talk pages, noticeboards, RFCs, Arbcom cases, and so forth: these symptoms precede Wiki death. See number 59 for the analogy with stars on the main sequence. While it may be impossible to avoid, if one is aware of the inevitable, it may be possible to postpone. I have a specialized skill, and I'm not done contributing in my area of expertise yet. Not even close.
  • Create free content only. That includes public domain and GFDL.
  • Acquire the knack of page formatting, so I can update this page without borking it. Thanks and gratitude to Phaedriel for the page design.
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I am an administrator. Drop me a note on my talk page if you need help with something which requires a mop and bucket. In the interest of transparency and full accountability – pretty important things on Wikipedia – you may review all of my administrative actions here: [1]

As of late 2008, I have blocked over 5,000 vandals, and reverted or deleted over 40,000 separate instances of vandalism. Some people don't like me for stopping them from having their childish fun with us, but that's OK: whatever happens, whether I burn out or stay on for a while, I am confident I have done some good for this project.

You may view my complete statistics, including edits, blocks, deletes, protects, and so forth here.

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Cquote1.png O my soul, aspire not to eternal life
But rather exhaust the limits of the possible.
Pindar, Odes (Pythian III)
Cquote1.png Look round at the courses of the stars, as if thou wert going along with them; and constantly consider the changes of the elements into one another; for such thoughts purge away the filth of life on earth. Cquote2.png
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7:47
Cquote1.png Courage is the price life extracts for granting us peace. Cquote2.png
Amelia Earhart
Cquote1.png The cultivated person's first duty is to always be prepared to rewrite the encyclopedia. Cquote2.png
Umberto Eco, "The Force of Falsity"

All the work I do on Renaissance and early Baroque music is dedicated to the memory of Professor Seamus O'Reilly.

Accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu,
Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.

Cookie, bah. You can haz cake! A Well-Wisher, 20:37, 29 October 2011 (UTC).