Stuff I've worked on
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and related articles (way back in ~2011) .
- a few Physics related articles, (such as physics); see Wikipedia:WikiProject Physics to join the action.
- Adding information about pharmokinetics (metabolic pathways, half life, etc) for a number of drugs. Such information is super important and I take great pride in making it available and linking to high quality peer reviewed papers!
- Random copyediting here and there; if I see a spelling or grammar error, weasel words, link/blog spam, or biased information, I fix it.
Things I've done & things I've learned
||On Wikipedia, the reward for a job well done is another three jobs.
|— David Gerard
New Page Patrolling
(WP:NPP) This can be fun. Mainly I have done speedy deletion tagging and cleanups. Wikipedia is always in need of new page patrollers. There is a nifty bot which automatically sorts new pages and tries to find the "bad" ones, and it can be useful, but I would not rely on it solely. I have about 2000 deleted edits on my record from doing this.
Stubbing and Destubbing
(WP:STUB) I have done a fair amount of stub sorting. I also "destub" pages that are no longer stubs. Destubbing is important and maintains the usefulness of the sub categories. People who are looking for articles to work on look use stub categories to find the articles most in need, and I believe the stub class should be limited to articles with only a few lines (1-10) (c.f. "sub-stubs"). Additionally, many articles that are marked as stubs are actually nearly complete articles that would be very hard to expand, even though they are relatively short.
Giving images fair-use policies
(WP:FU) I was once quite involved in "saving" from deletion numerous screenshots from Arrested Development episode articles. Since then, I have watched many of them get deleted by the "image nazies". Such people often use minor protocol errors on Fair-Use Policy templates to delete images. I see now that such deletions are justified and have changed my thinking completely... Since Wikipedia is free content, fair-use should be used very sparingly, and should always be low resolution. Screenshots are, in 90% of cases, unnecessary. What Wikipedia really needs are people willing to upload high resolution photos they have taken. A great example of an editor who has done this is User:Wadester16, who has uploaded many beautiful images of RPI and the Capital District.
(WP:CAT) I created and populated the categories Category:Rensselaer_Polytechnic_Institute_alumni,
and a few others. Much more categorization work needs to be done regarding colleges and universities. It is important to recognize standards such as "Category:____ alumni" rather then "Category:alumni of ___", as it saves everyone a lot of trouble later on.
(WP:REF) I encourage everyone to go to preferences and install the referencing toolbar, as it makes using referencing templates really easy. References are key to the success and usefulness of Wikipedia. They verify information and give people places to turn for more information. Many feel they can get away with a simple link, however referencing templates are much nicer and more useful. References to books or published journal articles should always be preferred over websites.
Recent Change Patrolling
||He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
|— Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146
(WP:RCP) I have at least 4000 edits doing this. For a month or so I was pretty active with the anti vandal tool and WP:TWINKLE. I have since retired, and now only revert vandalism on my watchlisted pages. Recent change patrolling can be rewarding, but it is very tiring mentally. I have watched editors become very involved and then get burned out. I don't recommend it as an activity, nor do I feel vandalism is a serious problem. Fortunately, just one or two vandal patrollers on active duty, coupled with bots, can successfully revert 90% of vandalism within the first minute of posting. A bigger problem is biased and faulty information, which can be injected and remain for a long time.
(WP:BIO) I did this using Outrigger's amazing script. I was part of an assessment drive and did around 2000 assessments/tags. Since then, the script has been shut down, as WP:BIO is still quite backlogged on tagging, but Outrigger believes people should be doing more important things. I also agree with this philosophy: while WikiProject tagging should always be done, it is no longer useful when editors rate articles haphazardly. Perhaps more importantly, it is a problem when editors spend too much time on tagging and other internal affairs and never actual improve content. While wiki gnomes are very important to Wikipedia, the people who truly make Wikipedia great are those who write substantial portions of articles. For that reason, I believe very little can be inferred about the quality of an editor merely from their edit count. A editor who undertakes the task of creating new material or doing a re-write can give an article a cohesive unity, in contrast to the jumble of fragmented sentences found in many articles. It is important that Wikipedia articles be readable, this is done by maintaining an encyclopedic tone, following all the rules of standard English, and by achieving flow, or logical connection between parts.
Uploading pictures & media
I have uploaded many pictures to Wikimedia Commons, many of which I have taken or created myself. As of April 2012 I have uploaded 45 files. I am particularly proud of the diagram I made showing the Zeeman effect. My uploads can be viewed here.
Note: I have written a blog post on "some subtler problems in Wikipedia" (2016).
Editors I respect
Although millions of people visit Wikipedia each day, studies have shown the core of Wikipedia is written and maintained by an tight-nit and surprisingly well organized community of around 5,000-10,000 editors, and about 1500 administrators. About 4000 have more than 8600 edits, (see here). About 2000 care enough to vote in the Wikimedia Board elections. These core editors are responsible for maintaining a high degree of consistency and oversight. Among those, a few rise to the top as elite Wikipedians who have earned my respect and the respect of the community at large. Some of them skillfully moderate deletion debates, others spread Wikilove and help newbies, some conduct scholarly research and others are ever present on Wikipedia's IRC channel ready to engage with the community and lend a helping hand. In different ways they have all been major contributors to the success of Wikipedia. Some that I would like to personal recognize are:
Every article is important
Here is a simple reason every article is important: Google. Wikipedia articles of all types climb to the top of Google search results. Some have suggested a conspiracy between Google and Wikipedia. I believe that Wiki articles climb to the top for a variety of reasons, depending on the type of article:
- Well-edited articles on core topics (God, Jesus, Chemistry, Internet) top results because they provide key facts, overviews, and unbiased coverage on an easy to read page. Higher click-through rates lead these to climb in pagerank.
- Mid importance topics still come close to top for the same reasons. For some there are often better sources of information online, yet Wikipedia remains popular and fairly trusted.
- Smaller articles on obscure topics will top results because they are the only pages on the internet dedicated to the subject. Furthermore, they are the only pages linked by many other pages since many sites link to Wikipedia as a general reference.
- Crap articles will quickly top Google searches within a day or two and will also appear on mirror sites: this fact should underline the need for recent page patrolling and speedy deletion.
- Even redirects get linked onto Google, I have tested this myself.
Good policy pages