User:Curtis Clark

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Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. It is so far beyond a bureaucracy that the light from bureaucracy takes ten thousand years to reach it.

Note to new editors from academia

Run away! Run away! Editing Wikipedia is like being in grad school all over again, but worse:

  1. Your committee changes randomly, and many of them know less about the subject than you do.
  2. Everything you learned as an undergrad is devalued.
  3. There's no light at the end of the tunnel. You won't get a degree or a job, you'll get precious little recognition, and at the end of the day you won't even be convinced that you've been effective at building an encyclopedia.

In short, for most academics editing in their own fields, Wikipedia is a waste of time. This has been thoroughly discussed, but with little effect (also similar to graduate school).

If you do decide to edit. consider carefully whether you want to use your actual name or even disclose your identity. When I started editing in 2005, I used my real name, just as I always had on Usenet and other internet forums, and because I'm relatively uncontroversial, and already had tenure, there has never been a downside. But I don't see an upside, either; nothing I do here will bring me any credit outside Wikipedia (little of it brings me credit here), and no one in Wikipedia gives a rat's ass about anything I've done on the outside. Certainly for early-career faculty it is safest not to use your real name, and for women it is wise to avoid disclosing your gender, because there is a propensity to discount and belittle female editors, especially those who don't have ruthless argumentation skills, among enough editors to matter.

About me

I am not Curtis Clark (musician), but rather Curtis Clark (botanist). I live in California, and I am Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at Cal Poly Pomona. I am an expert in botany and evolutionary biology, but it turns out I've contributed in other areas as well.

My role with respect to Cal Poly Pomona

Because I have been employed at Cal Poly Pomona since 1980, and because when I was Web Coordinator I had an interest in the university on the web, I keep watch on, and occasionally contribute to, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, for some very specific reasons:

  1. I watch for copyright violations of photographs and text that belong to Cal Poly Pomona. I have seen most of the information and photos that the university has placed on the web, and I can usually easily spot a copyvio. I do this not to make life miserable for some editors, but rather to protect the interests of the university, as part of my job. As I told students back when I taught, "Rewrite it in your own words." And it's easy to take your own photos of the campus (see the article for some good examples), which will often be more representative of what people really see than the publicity shots. (If any editor would like a specific photo taken on campus, let me know, and if I can get it, I'll put it on Wikimedia Commons.)
  2. I do my best to maintain NPOV. After 37 years, I know many reasons both to hate and to love the university, and ironically the too-positive is the most common NPOV violation that I've seen. I've written PR for the university myself, I know what it looks like, and it has no place in Wikipedia. I serve both Wikipedia and my employer by doing what I can to ensure that the article is brutally fair.

If you think I'm not meeting either of those goals, let me know.

About the name "Cal Poly"

It seems that quite a few people outside the Pomona Valley are offended that people in the Pomona Valley refer to Cal Poly Pomona as "Cal Poly". Evidently their view is that the name "Cal Poly" "rightfully" belongs to California Polytechnic State University. There is some merit in the logic of that argument; Cal Poly Pomona officially disavows the name, and the San Luis Obispo university is, and has trademarked "Cal Poly" for athletic wear.

Nevertheless, virtually all of Wikipedia policy supports the idea that Wikipedia is descriptive, not prescriptive. For many people in the Pomona Valley, "Cal Poly" unambiguously refers to Cal Poly Pomona; they refer to the other school as "Cal Poly SLO" or "Cal Poly San Luis Obispo". Technically, they are wrong. Officials at Cal Poly Pomona would be pleased if they'd stop. But (1) Wikipedia is not censored, and (2) these folks are not scalawags, low-lifes, and terrorists, they are neighbors. Many of them attend, or send their children. Some of them donate. It wouldn't be neighborly for Cal Poly Pomona to wave their error in their faces. And it wouldn't be NPOV of Wikipedia to suppress a common usage.


Photos for articles


External links

Curtis Clark Curtis Clark