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User:DoctorJoeE

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43 states + DC, PR: Alabama Alaska Arizona California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia (U.S. state) Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Puerto Rico Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington (state) Washington, D.C. Wisconsin Wyoming

7 states remaining: Arkansas Iowa Kansas Kentucky Nebraska North Dakota West Virginia

Project editor retention logo 1.svg WP:RETENTION This editor is willing to lend a helping hand. Just ask.

Two very useful links for editors: Editors' index to Wikipedia and WP:GO

54 countries: Andorra Australia Austria The Bahamas Belgium Bhutan Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Cambodia Canada China Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Ecuador Egypt England Fiji Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland India Republic of Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Jordan Mexico Monaco Montenegro Netherlands New Zealand Norway Peru Poland Portugal Romania Russia Scotland Slovenia South Africa South Korea Spain Sweden Switzerland Thailand Turkey Uzbekistan Vietnam Wales Zambia


Disputes are inevitable in a project such as this. I always try to appeal to the adult side of anyone who disagrees with anything I've done here — provide an opportunity to walk away, cool down, and realize that his or her own actions may have contributed to the disagreement. (That allows me the same opportunity, of course, since it's always possible that I'm the one who is wrong.) We do, unfortunately, have a few followers of the old lawyer’s adage: if the facts are on your side, pound the facts; if the law is on your side, pound the law; if neither is on your side, pound the table — all the while demanding "civility" as they pound away. In such cases I usually request administrative assistance. I am not here to become enmeshed in pissing contests, nor to ensure that everyone loves everyone; I'm here to help build an encyclopedia. Call me names if you wish — I'm a big boy, I won't reciprocate. The discussion is the thing. I'm always willing to extend the benefit of the doubt once, and if I'm the one at fault I will say so; but I have no interest in feeding the trolls, nor in wasting the severely finite amount of editing time available to me with people who insist on putting their personal goals above the goals of the project.

DoctorJoeE
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Symbol support vote.svg This user helped promote the article Ted Bundy to good article status.
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Symbol support vote.svg This user helped promote the article Hack Wilson to good article status.
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H?
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Physician, Writer, Speaker, Thaumaturgist

  • World traveler
  • Double agent
  • Last of the big-time spenders
  • Riverboat gambler
  • Soldier of fortune
  • Soft-shoe dancer
  • Singer of sentimental ballads
  • Finalist in Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes 28 years in a row

Have MacBook, Will Travel

New-Bouncywikilogo.gif

Original Barnstar.png The Original Barnstar
This is presented for your contributions to the Stade Roland Garros article. WOW! The Ink Daddy! (talk) 09:11, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
KM AVCISI.PNG The Good Article Barnstar
For your efforts in promoting Hack Wilson to GA. Your hard work should be rewarded! ♦ Orsoni (talk) 12:58, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Peace Barnstar 6.png The Barnstar of Diplomacy
I can't believe no one acknowledged the phenomenal job you did to resolve the conflict over the lead sentence in Shroud of Turin, which would have continued ad infinitum with ad nauseum personal attacks, had you not interceded and focused hotter heads on solving the problem at hand. Bravo. 108.5.41.218 (talk) 01:37, 11 April 2013 (UTC)
Cornflower blue Yogo sapphire.jpg

personal health
Thank you for quality articles on people, such as Hack Wilson, for dispute resolution, copy-editing, new page patrol, treatment of articles' talk pages, and for thinking "Sounds like that scale -- the one that balances user contributions with user issues -- needs some serious recalibrating", - you are an awesome Wikipedian!

--Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:33, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Antiflame Barnstar Hires.png The Anti-Flame Barnstar
For a remarkable display of restraint. PPP 05:08, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Million award logo.svg The Million Award
For your contributions to bring Ted Bundy (estimated annual readership: 2,581,000) to Good Article status, I hereby present you the Million Award. Congratulations on this rare accomplishment, and thanks for all you do for Wikipedia's readers. -- Khazar2 (talk) 14:22, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Team Barnstar Hires.png The Teamwork Barnstar
Thanks for all the copy editing you did on Red Skelton! Being there to fix the mistakes of my mind and often foolish fingers helped make the article an FA. Thanks again! We hope (talk) 14:00, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
WikiDefender Barnstar.png The Defender of the Wiki Barnstar
For your patience with fools and knowledgeable rebuttal of idiocies. Guy (Help!) 16:56, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Cornflower blue Yogo sapphire.jpg

personal health
Thank you for quality articles on people, such as Hack Wilson, for dispute resolution, copy-editing, new page patrol, treatment of articles' talk pages, and for thinking "Sounds like that scale -- the one that balances user contributions with user issues -- needs some serious recalibrating", - you are an awesome Wikipedian! --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:33, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Two years ago, you were the 454th recipient of my PumpkinSky Prize, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 07:19, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Animalibrí

Contributions of Relative Substance

Articles Created or Substantially Rewritten

Bucket List

So Many Articles, So Little Time

(articles in dIre need of improvement, to be addressed as time and spouse permit)

Advice to myself — an ongoing self-reminder

  1. Wikipedia is not fair. Just like life. Get over it.
  2. Assume good faith toward your collaborating editors, if not their edits.
  3. Stay calm and maintain a professional demeanor. Be patient; remain courteous and civil. Don't edit when angry or upset.
  4. Avoid conflict, even if you feel know you are right. Give other editors the benefit of the doubt.
  5. Ignore attacks. Not easily done, but a real timesaver. Attacks and counter-attacks are hazardous to your mental health. Most attacks are not worth a response, and those that are should ideally be handled by a fellow editor (See Meatball:DefendEachOther). The best and most frequently offered Administrative advice is to move on -- "go fishing". If necessary, return the next day -- but don't revive the debate; beating a dead horse is never a good idea.
  6. Don't take it personally. Editors make honest mistakes. Communicating our thoughts is not easily done on the Internet.
  7. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. You're not a real Wikipedian until you've made—and learned from—at least 50 of them.
  8. Don't think of editing as a competition.
  9. Illegitimi non carborundum.
  10. Your opinion—and mine—are unimportant here. What is important here is sourcing.

The only thing to take personally on Wikipedia is praise, you know. All else is random noise.

--Tim Trent

Good response (stolen from Dennis Brown and modified) to pushy editors:

You have to remember that articles are written by a large number of people, some better than others at being neutral. Don't assume that everyone disagrees with you. When you get combative and start monologuing, people tune you out, or ignore you; or worse, conclude you have some POV agenda that you are trying to force on the rest of us. You will find that you get a lot more done around here by being patient, and building a consensus. It only takes a day or two, typically. This isn't a full time job for any of us, after all. It sounds like you have some good ideas; now try politely presenting them in a more pithy way, and you will probably find others who agree with you. (If you don't, that's a clear signal that you might simply be wrong.) Most people WANT an article to be 100% accurate; very few have their own agenda. Make it easier for the rest of us to agree with you by being a little nicer and a little less aggressive.

Observations

The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work.
("The Øth law of Wikipedia, Author unknown, nicked from Raul's Laws.)

In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.
(Yogi Berra)

  • A few tongue-in-cheek definitions for newbies (oops - new editors):
    • Meat puppet: Editor who disagrees with you
    • Sock puppet: Editor who agrees with an editor who disagrees with you
    • Non-notable: A subject you're not interested in
    • Vandalism: An edit you didn't make
    • Neutral point of view: Your point of view
    • Consensus: A mythical state of utopian human evolution; many scholars of Wikipedian theology theorize that if consensus is ever reached, Wikipedia will spontaneously disappear.
  • Consensus is an elusive WP concept that is often reached more passively than actively. Per WP:CONSENSUS: "Any edit that is not disputed or reverted by another editor can be assumed to have consensus. Should that edit later be revised by another editor without dispute, it can be assumed that a new consensus has been reached."
    • Corollary: If you disagree with an edit, the onus is on you to say so.
  • The oft-quoted mantra that "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth..." is widely misinterpreted. It is NOT intended as a license to strive for the former at the expense of the latter. The actual threshold is verifiability AND truth, but verifiability is intended to elevate the bar above truth, to make it a higher standard rather than a lower one. In other words, it is not sufficient for content to be true — a source must be cited verifying that it is true.
  • Wikipedia says of itself that it is "not a democracy" and "not a bureaucracy." That is half correct.
  • All NPOV cynicism aside: Without the doctrine of Neutral Point of View, Wikipedia would have disintegrated long ago. NPOV is the glue that holds the project together, and as such is the single most important creation of Messrs. Sanger and Wales.
    • Corollary 1: An article is neutral if, after reading it, you cannot tell where the authors' sympathies lie.
    • Corollary 2: At the end of the day, NPOV will always triumph over the tendentious distortions of the moment.
  • Anyone who says "Wikipedia is not censored" has never paid particularly close attention to the way talk pages are treated by third parties.
  • Creating articles at Wikipedia is a bit like conceiving and rearing kids: You do your best to set them up on a good foundation and hope that they'll develop and progress without getting mixed up with the wrong people; but in the end, all you can do is turn 'em loose, wave goodbye, and hope for the best.
  • Since most vandalism is committed by IPs, all IPs tend to be treated like dirt; which is why anyone interested in making a genuine contribution to the project should open an account. Trying to make serious edits to Wikipedia as an IP editor is like wandering the countryside in a moose costume on the first day of hunting season.
    • Corollary: Yes, "anyone can edit" is a fundamental WP principle; but in view of the ineluctable fact that most vandalism is IP-generated, wouldn't it make more sense to require all editors to open an account, since "anyone can register" as well—and you're not even required to reveal your name?
  • Any display of humor within WP represents an egregious lack of respect for those editors who have no sense for it. Taking deep offense when someone cracks a joke is a marker for intellectual insecurity.


ON WP's STRUCTURE

The thing about WIkipedia is that there is no top to take it to. That alone is a hard thing to grasp. No hierarchy, no one in charge, just the alleged wisdom of crowds. Sometimes that is good, other times it sucks badly. I understand the place perfectly, or, rather, I understand that Wikipedia is wholly imperfect. I simply know how to work within it and accept its limitations. I hope you are not under the illusion that it is an encyclopaedia, though. It may produce one, but it is a social experiment. "We" created it along with a load of rules, some of which are rubbish. The thing is a loose collection of folk, some of whom have great brains and some of whom are sharing a single brain cell with an amoeba. And each of us is equal. Scary or what?

(nicked from Tim Trent's talk page)

Skeleton-warrior.jpg

Molṑn labé!

ON EXPERTS

The Wikipedia philosophy can be summed up thusly: "Experts are scum." For some reason people who spend 40 years learning everything they can about, say, the Peloponnesian War—and indeed, advancing the body of human knowledge—get all pissy when their contributions are edited away by Randy in Boise who heard somewhere that sword-wielding skeletons were involved. And they get downright irate when asked politely to engage in discourse with Randy until the sword-skeleton theory can be incorporated into the article without passing judgment. (Lore Sjöberg, "The Wikipedia FAQK" – Wired, April 2006)

ON VERIFIABILITY

Per WP:V, "Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed" — and in some circumstances (BLPs, for example) must be. While there is certainly a spectrum, my view is that {{cn}} tags are appropriate for uncontentious material; but for anything important (eg health information), dubious/unsupported material needs immediate deletion. Regarding such decisions, "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material".

ON SOURCING

WP discourages the use of primary sources and user-generated source material; newcomers tend not to understand the reasoning behind this. WP:PSTS explains in detail the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, and why the absence of conclusions in primary sources is problematic for WP editors. We try not to rely on primary sources because they nearly always force editors to draw their own conclusions, which is a basic WP no-no. By drawing your own conclusions you are doing original research, which is not allowed here.

While use of self-published source material is discouraged, a self-published source can qualify as reliable under certain circumstances; the two are not mutually exclusive. Per guidelines: "Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. Exercise caution when using such sources; if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else will probably have done so."

User-generated Web material typically lacks any significant fact checking, and therefore fails WP:RS. IMDb is probably the worst offender in this category; the reliable sources guideline specifically addresses the reliability of IMDb in the WP:USERGENERATED section. Find-a-Grave is a close second-worst.

ON RULES

WP:IAR is a touchy concept, subject to widely varying interpretation, and mine continues to evolve. My current one—as of this writing—is that overall article quality trumps the rules, in nearly all cases. If it comes down to making a distinct improvement in an article versus obeying a rule, I will make the improvement. In applying that policy I manage to annoy the community's compulsive rule followers every so often — but so be it. I'm not a blind rule follower in real life, either. If some of WP's self-appointed specialists in the enforcement of the finer details of esoteric rules were to instead devote some of their seemingly inexhaustible energies to contributing a bit of content on occasion, the encyclopedia might be completed considerably sooner, and with considerably less aggravation.

ON WP:BRD

I'm not sure what part of WP:BRD is unclear to so many seasoned editors. It seems rather straightforward to me: If you were bold, and you've been reverted, you then need to discuss, civilly. Which brings us to...

ON CIVIL DEBATE

Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement.svg

When someone is constantly making subtle uncivil comments with a particular bias that slide under the block radar, the immediate victim is editor participation; the ultimate victim is neutrality. The law of holes also applies here: If you have dug yourself a hole, stop digging. And once again, taking deep offense when someone cracks a joke is a marker for intellectual insecurity.

ON TAGGING

In general (except as noted above), don't.

WORDS OF WISDOM

The universe does not revolve around you

Wikipedia is not a forum or a soapbox. Your ego is not on the line while you are here. Editors are human; they are prone to errors, labile emotions, and stress. The goal of the project is to assemble reliable, encyclopedic information; set aside your ego and work toward that goal.

While editors' points of view are certainly welcomed, please remember that Wikipedia has a neutral point of view policy with regard to writing articles. To that effect, editors should set aside their conflicting egos and points of view, and work together to create neutral content. Through collaboration, and presentation of either a neutral point of view or all points of view in every article, Wikipedia achieves its aim of sharing reliable information with its readers.

ON WIKIPEDIA AND THE CABAL

Any cabal you perceive is of your own making.

A common complaint here is that there are groups of users — usually longtime members of the community — who have all the power, make all the decisions, police the behavior of everyone else, and disclaim any responsibility for such actions; in short, cabals. Typically, the accuser will string together a chain of outcomes that s/he did not desire, and assign a common causation to them. The outcomes may be unrelated, or related only in the sense that they are in line with generally accepted community practices (typically, policy pages) or evolving consensus. It is true that respected editors are influential in the latter; it is not true that they can bend the entire community to their will. Moreover, since experienced editors tend to be fluent in the same policy pages, they may take on the appearance of an organised unit.

When a newer user starts accusing everyone of conspiring against him or her, and established Wikipedians band together in defense, it will be seen as confirmation of his or her misplaced suspicions. It is much more effective to refute the arguments of the majority through reasoned discussion than to imply that they are wrong because they are the majority, or that disagreement constitutes some form of repression. If you attack people who oppose you as if they were a collective with an agenda against you, then they will certainly become one. There is no cabal conspiring against you unless you create it yourself.

Also, consider that if many or most of the editors involved in a discussion disagree with you, it may be simply because you are wrong — or in violation of site policies (such as WP:UNDUE) — or both.

ON "FREE SPEECH"

Another common argument used by people attempting to add wacko theories or push their POV here is that they are being "censored" or "deprived of their right of free speech". First of all, this is a private web site; you have no inherent "rights" here; secondly, the First Amendment right to "free speech" is widely misunderstood; it means that the government cannot arrest you for what you say, though there are limits even to that. (You do not, for example, have the right to erroneously shout "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre.) It does not mean that anyone else has to listen to your rantings, or host you while you share them. It does not shield you from criticism or consequence. If you are blocked or banned here, your First Amendment rights are not being violated; it's just that the people listening think you're an asshole — and they are showing you the door.

ON RIGHTING GREAT WRONGS

Wikipedia is a popular site and appears high in the search engine rankings. You might think that it is a great place to set the record straight and Right Great Wrongs, but that’s not the case. We can record the righting of great wrongs, but we can’t ride the crest of the wave because we can only report that which is verifiable from reliable and secondary sources, giving appropriate weight to the balance of informed opinion: even if you're sure something is true, it must be verifiable before you can add it. So, if you want to:

  • Expose a popular personality as a child molester,
  • Vindicate a convicted murderer whom you believe to be innocent,
  • Explain the "truth" or "reality" of a current or historical political, religious, or moral issue, or
  • Spread the word about a hypothesis or miracle cure-all product that has been unfairly neglected or suppressed by the scholarly community,

on Wikipedia, you’ll have to wait until it’s been reported in mainstream media. Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought or original research. Wikipedia is behind the ball; that is, we don't lead, we follow. Let reliable sources make the novel connections and statements, and then find neutral ways of presenting them when needed.

Had Wikipedia existed in the fourth century BCE, it would have reported the then-prevailing view that the Earth is flat as a self-evident fact, without qualification. It would have reported the views of Eratosthenes (who correctly determined the Earth's actual shape and calculated its circumference in 240 BCE) as a fringe view. Similarly, in Galileo's time it would have documented the prevailing view that the Sun (and everything else) orbits the Earth as fact; Galileo's solar system model would have been rejected as "original research".

If there were, today, a popularly held or notable minority opinion, supported by reliable sources, that the Earth is flat, Wikipedia would report it — but not as a fact. It would describe the minority view (clearly labeled as such), its history, and its notable or prominent adherents, and it would cite the sources. Wikipedia is inherently a non-innovative reference work: it stifles creativity and free thought; which — for the purposes of this particular project — is a good thing. (For additional examples and a more substantial discussion, see WP:FLAT.)

DEFEND EACH OTHER

If you are personally attacked, don't defend yourself. Instead, allow other community members to defend you; if they don't, it usually means that the attack was too absurd to even merit a response. When a response is merited, responding is not your job; it is the job of the other members in the online community.

Reasons:

  • A response from an uninvolved third party is much more credible to the reader.
  • It's too hard to stay emotionally balanced while defending against personal attacks.
  • The experience of being defended is incredible. It is pure joy; enjoy it!
  • To defend and be defended creates strong emotional bonds among members; it builds trust.

Remember, most personal attacks need not be defended at all, because the attacker only hurts his/her own reputation and credibility; but if you run across a personal attack against a fellow editor, and you feel that a response is necessary, by all means, respond.

While conflicts are never fun, they hold opportunities to grow as a community, to build trust among its members, to gain valuable experience. Observe and learn for the next time. (See Meatball:DefendEachOther)

Handy stuff

See also

Patrolling Stuff