User:Barry Pearson

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What sort of Wikipedian I am
Noia 64 apps karm.svg This user has been on Wikipedia for 9 years, 4 months and 30 days.
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inclThis user is an inclusionist.

I have retired from a career helping to design complicated multi-vendor computer systems.[1] My main hobby is photography.

Eur Ing Barry Pearson BSc(Hons) CITP CEng FBCS LRPS CPAGB

(My BSc(Hons) degree was in Mathematical Physics).

I registered with Wikipedia in order to correct and bring up to date pages for which I have some degree of expertise. I have interests that I want to see properly represented in Wikipedia. Editing Wikipedia is not my hobby.

I have read the Wikipedia article on single-purpose accounts. I appear to be guilty as charged! (Or at least, perhaps of being a three-purpose account). I would find such criticism bizarre. I have spent much of my life building up expertise in selected areas, then trying to help people become better informed about them. I try to avoid potentially disastrous meddling where I only have limited knowledge.

More background[edit]

During my career, I was passionate about knowledge-sharing. Before the web, I had already started to investigate the use of hypertext for the purpose. Once the web was devised, I developed my first website in 1994 on my company's intranet. This confirmed my view about the value of the web for knowledge-sharing.

Later, once I investigated Wikipedia, it was like a dream come true! A knowledge-base without limits, edited by people with a huge range of different knowledge. I registered in 2009, under my own name, and I began editing. In 2011 I realised that I matched the description of an inclusionist. My experience as a user (rather than just an editor) of Wikipedia illustrates why, see below. (Wikipedia exists for the sake of its users, not of its editors).

I've read NewScientist pretty-well every week since about 1963. (And many science-rich books). I've seen paradigms come and go. A Scientific Theory (in the scientific definition of "Theory") might appear solid for a long time. But someone becomes skeptical, and starts querying it, sometimes to the derision of proponents of the current paradigm. Often, of course the derision is justified! Many alternatives fail. But some succeed, and eventually (after resistance) a new Theory is established. (Sometimes accompanied by a Nobel Prize). As Max Planck (nearly) said: "science advances one funeral at a time". Wikipedia describes several Theories/paradigms which will eventually be replaced. A problem is that we don't know which they are! Wikipedia would be unwise to claim to have the final word on much of its science content.

Should both established paradigms and challenges be offered equal weight? Typically not. The skeptical position may not warrant its own page, even if the skeptical person does warrant a Biography page. But the existence of a challenge may well be notable in the real world. There may be fierce arguments raging. Wikipedia mustn't take sides and pretend there is no conflict. That would be a false position.

Why I am an inclusionist[edit]

I added the panel saying I was an inclusionist in November 2011. Since then, I have found no reason to depart from that position. Here is why I believe inclusionism is good for Wikipedia:

Example 1: Suppose I've read the name "Person-X" somewhere, and I want to see what Wikipedia has to say, I access it and put "Person-X" into the search. If I find a page, then I've got what I wanted, and Wikipedia has credibility. Win-win. But if I don't find a page, obviously I don't think "Person-X doesn't exist"! Nor do I think "Person-X isn't notable". In real-world terms, Person-X is worthy of note or memorable, at least to me and people like me. I see this lack of information as a failure of Wikipedia, and I go elsewhere, disappointed.

Example 2: Suppose I see the name "Person-X" in a page on the web. I select the name and right-click on my browser and select "search for …". If there is a page in Wikipedia, it might appear near the top of the search list. I'll probably go there first. If there isn't a page, Wikipedia won't appear in the search list. In this case, Wikipedia is worse than invisible. It might as well not exist.

Example 3: Sometimes I do what probably most people do: I simply type "Person-X" into a search engine. This is like Example 2.

Example 4: Suppose no one ever searches for Person-X! Then it doesn't matter if the page exists. There is no limit on the number of pages in Wikipedia. In effect, users have voted with their fingers that (at least for the time being) Person-X isn't notable in the real world. (In future, who knows?) There doesn't appear to be a downside in having a redundant page.

Should everyone be in Wikipedia? There are serious problems with this idea! For example, a concept in some jurisdictions is "the right to be forgotten". In most cases, I think a useful test might be "might this person ask to be forgotten, and if so, would their request be upheld?" In the case of Person-X (etc) if he or she is alive, perhaps they should be either be asked whether they mind having a page, or perhaps should be able to register a desire to have a page.

There are many knowledge-bases in the world. They are typically less broad in their topics than Wikipedia. It is an advantage for Wikipedia in this competition to have the broadest possible coverage. Reducing the topics (including Biographies) by deleting pages doesn't help! Inclusionism may save Wikipedia.

Pages created[edit]

I use sub-pages of this page while creating new pages (and for no other reason). Here is my "work in progress":

Healthy lifestyles[edit]

My age (I was born in 1947) has prompted me to identify a lifestyle that has a good chance of enabling me to have a long, active, quality life. I have spent many 100s of hours studying the two main aspects of such a lifestyle: a healthy food-lifestyle and a healthy exercise-lifestyle. (There are other aspects too). I have been implementing my target (and evolving) lifestyle since early 2015. I have compared the results from my NHS health checks, and my own use of body-monitoring equipment, with the results predicted by these studies. The results are very encouraging, leading me to believe that I have successfully identified some useful science and avoided the many fads.

My chosen food-lifestyle is Low Carbohydrate High Fat, tweaked a little to make it enjoyable and sustainable. My chosen exercise-lifestyle is "high intensity", mainly High Intensity Interval Training, but also some High Intensity Resistance Training. This exercise-lifestyle, while not "enjoyable", is proving to be sustainable, and as expected with high intensity exercises, is both effective and takes relatively little time.

My Lipid profile (cholesterol and triglycerides) is now at least "very good", and probably "excellent". My blood sugar measurements indicate that I have none of the characteristics of metabolic syndrome, and so (hopefully) I have no risk of developing type-2 diabetes. I have never "counted calories", yet my BMI is at the low end of the "normal" range. My "heart age" is younger than I am. I appear to be "fat adapted", freely able to use fatty acids as my principal metabolic fuel. (But I don't risk the dangerous "starvation mode" that arises after a few days). I'm not saying this to gloat. I am pointing out that I appear to be doing something right, and therefore I probably have knowledge that many others (obviously not everyone!) could benefit from. Where I can, I will contribute to Wikipedia. I am aware of the importance of WP:MEDRS.

My "to do" list[edit]

  • CinemaDNG - Needs bringing up to date with latest Adobe product developments and the use of CinemaDNG by other companies.
  • Raw image format - This page has become poorly-structured as a result of various edits by others; needs restructuring.

Photography[edit]

I intend to create and/or edit pages concerned with photography in general. I have made a start, for example OpenRAW and Photographic Alliance of Great Britain.

I want to improve the pages concerned with "raw image formats" for digital photography, including Tag Image File Format / Electronic Photography, Raw image format, and DNG.

Digital Negative format[edit]

Disclaimer[edit]

I have sometimes been falsely accused of getting paid or otherwise motivated by Adobe for my statements about DNG. I emphasize what I have said a number of times before: I have no commercial relationship with Adobe, other than paying to use some of their products.

DNG isn't a commercial product - it is a free-to-use file format. It therefore has the same status as TIFF (which is also owned by Adobe), and people who write about TIFF don't get accused of being on Adobe's payroll!

My DNG articles[edit]

In the last 10 years I have published about 30 "rich" pages on Adobe's Digital Negative (DNG) raw image format.[2] I have published more on the subject of DNG than anyone else outside Adobe. My interpretation is that those pages are a combination of primary sources, secondary sources, and tertiary sources, while also containing some original research. My website containing those pages is free-to-access without registration, and is non-commercial with no paid-for advertising.[3]

Some of the content could usefully by exploited in Wikipedia. It is wrong to categorise all those pages as "advocacy". Some pages are, because this format is vitally important for digital image preservation in years to come. But others are lists of facts or products, or the results of genuine (repeatable) research, or analysis based on such information. One page is explicitly speculative. Each page must be taken on its own merits. All pages are extensively supported by citations, and those are themselves valuable to the reader.

I have been criticised for linking to my own pages in this way. Yet if an anonymous editor had done so, (or if I had done so under a pseudonym), I don't believe there would have been the same objection. It cannot be sensible for someone editing under their own full name to be restricted compared to those other sorts of editor!

References[edit]

  1. ^ An informal summary of my curriculum vitae (I've retired and I'm not seeking work!)
  2. ^ DNG articles and links (Lots of information about Adobe's Digital Negative (DNG) image format)
  3. ^ Barry Pearson's personal website