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The Bane of Be Bold WP:BBB
The reason Wikipedia encourages it's members and visitors to "Be Bold" is that Wikipedia wants everyone in the world to edit their Encyclopedia. A wiki provides the whole world personal ownership, on the job training, and counteracts the hesitation and timidity inherent in
- It's the other guys problem.
- It's the other guys property.
- At my skill level I don't have the time.
Collaboration in an information age is best depicted by Wikipedia, the closest thing to a global brain. Before we proceed with the ramifications of Be Bold, two analogies will guide.
Say you are the owner of some software that has bugs but offers free customer support of any issue the software may have. The software in this analogy represents Wikipedia content. Open source software is like this. An early release of buggy software is a way to get free testing of that software. The customers have to learn your software instead of doing their assigned job, but then "Life is what happens when you are planning to do other things." Employees are wooed away because an investment there makes one bolder there.
Wikipedia is like a farm, and you are the farmers. The content is the crop. The article grade or maturity is the ripeness and "nutritional value". The sections of the article are some optimal bite-size of the material to be digested as the science of computer learning would have. Stub article are seeds, starter articles are in their spring time, and featured articles are around Thanksgiving. The article is the plant, and the plant needs pruning when it gets too big. The proof is not in the putting, but in the pruning and polishing off. The editors are the hydroelectrics that make use of a flood from a brain storm. Their light cuts through the fog of so much patch work. Stubs can to featured articles over the span of years. An article that is a stub or starter article can be any length of words, but not for any length of time. Undeveloped articles are weeded out after many years of neglect.
The bane of be bold is the Click-o-phobia that reduces the chance someone will ever click on something so powerful as "edit this page". To them it is dangerous. As with most phobias, it has some truth, but innumeracy is just self propaganda. There is a very slight chance, comparable to computer or power failure, that you or your cat might navigate to the edit page, make an accidental alteration, and then Save page; then never notice. If you had noticed, the article "history" would provide the intact version you lost. Click-o-phobia is caused by innumeracy and warps other widgets to. Save page is always safe.
Why this article
Viewing and editing wikitext are the same click, but have different intentions. I will be careful to write edit or view based on this intention. I discuss the ramifications of "Edit this page" on the top of every article on Wikipedia, available to every person on the world-wide web.
WP:Be Bold could address click-o-phobia. The first paragraph of the first s
There are several kinds of undesirable edits:
- vandalism : 5% (median lifetime 14 min)
- accidental (0.0001%?)
- well-intentioned but weak (95%)
- not making a strong edit because of fear (??)
I want to address accidental edits caused during an intention to simply view wikitext. The risk in any analysis is negligible. The risk insignificant. In fact, the risk of an accidental edit is such a non-issue, that editing is encouraged by all means at Wikipedia for any reason whatsoever. The significant risk, and a real problem, that is also an undesirable edit is that of not editing for fear of making a mistake or causing an accident. It's OK! The MediaWiki software provides for super-redundant resiliency of all articles. They are all "idiot proof", every single one. the bane of the lead paragraph. The proposed addition won't add a dime to the budget of the clean-up squads on Wikipedia who fix "well-intentioned but wrong" edits.
Most would not know that modern computing is now safe. Accidents are a non-issue. Ya can barely hurt your computer accidentally, and the chances get slimmer every release of new software and hardware.
I have hope for the collaborative power of bold human beings who edit wikis. Yet, if you want to encourage editing, you have to first encourage viewing. The mind's eye can adjust to wikitext only by viewing it frequently. You've "arrived" when you forget you're looking at markup and think you're looking at the display. My former lack of courage to "edit this page" (view) did not encourage viewing. The wonders we want to see on Wikipedia will come from contributors with the following three--and by no coincidence related--attributes:
- curious by nature
- timid from accidents caused by curiosity
- well informed as a result of both
"I see somebody in the audience... They are old... They have a terminal case of click-o-phobia." "Be bold. Edit carefully. Viewing is safe"
As a nice side effect, the proposed will describe the way clicking can become both safer and more efficient for browsing for the bandwidth-challenged terminals.
=How to View safely and Edit efficiently=. "Edit this page" is non-destructive and non contentious way to look at wikitext, and start contributing. "Edit this page" has basically the same effect as if it had displayed "View Source". It is very safe. You can "edit" (view) any part of any article at any time, even the busiest, most content-changing page, (in triplicate windows!), and will be highly unlikely to cause an accidental edit.
If you must avoid all possibility of an accident
- Never leave the edit window unattended.
- Always browse through the edit page. (Keep your "hands" on the "wheel" and the "motor" running.)
- Close the edit window entirely (and open an "uncontaminated" one).
- Navigate back of the edit page, then choose any other forward destination (This eliminates the entire forward branch.)
You could even set your edit sessions to timeout quickly. (Ugh!)
If you worry about edit (view) windows know these things.
- Cancel has a similar effect to the "back" button on your browser, and it cannot keep you from returning back to the "cancelled" edit page and making an accidental edit.
- The default of an Edit conflict screen makes Save page do the same thing as Cancel: nothing.
- Save page, when no changes were made to it, is the same thing as Cancel: nothing.
- The word 'Edit is clearly displayed as the first word in the title of both the page and the browser. It's visible, even in a narrow, browser tab, title.
To get another view of this reality, you could edit a watchlist. There is no "Cancel" option, and the only action button on it does nothing unless you've made an edit.
By all means, browse easy, enjoy the views, and make your informed contributions.
Under construction material
Honestly, I could still be bold in editing while being fearful of clicking "edit this page".
Finally, there is the rare case of certain articles, where administrators changed "edit this page" to "view source".
I have hope for the collaborative power of bold human beings who edit wikis.
The edits "well-intentioned but wrong", the bane of be bold, are probably caused by the lack of reading
- quaint pedantry of Be Bold section "...but please be careful"
- grammar rules and style manuals
and is probably therefore, a fixed-size entity.
Be bold. The cure is risk knowledge, numeracy#innumaracy and now a robust mechanized army to revert, undo, repair.
Pruning. Imagine you've been asked to cleanup an 11,000 word article, to make it 5000 words. Here's how you would do it. Read the article, find the redundancies (and eliminate them), rely more on the linked articles, and make more lucid the remainder! If it is a B-Class grade prune more heavily to make space for the missing factual information. Move sections to other articles, make tables out of sections. Tables do not increase the words count.
Easy plus fun equals participation.
To truly edit, you complete 1)an alteration, 2)an editing comment, and then 3)an activation of the Save page button. Because intentional editing is so common, the <Enter> key becomes a shortcut to the Save page key at step-2. There are two ways accidentally trigger a Save page from an Edit summary text box by clicking that text box or by tabbing over to it.