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Loosely quoting somebody I don't admire: "Let my work speak for myself."
Da disclaimer I'm a human being. Therefore I'm clearly not perfect, and will, without any doubt, make some mistakes. I base my edits upon my personal knowledge, and my knowledge is limited by the information to which I have access. (for the really dumb: I might be wrong/mistaken.)
My completely personal policy in improving any article in Wikipedia.
- "No vandalism", (I really hope that I don´t have to explain the reasons for it).
- "Try to link stuff", link the names, the dates, countries, battles, etc. If you do that, Wikipedia will be much better for it.
- "Show your sources", in others words: put "references" like books (with the ISBN) and other "stuff" in the proper place (usually at the end of the article).
- "Put the complete name", Put the complete name (as "true" as possible) at the first mention of the person, then use the "most commonly" know version of it.
- "Respect the official version", if you read, know, believe and want to present a "correct - alternative" event or reasoning which differs somewhat from the "commonly accepted" one, present it (and show your sources!) as such. My own example: Herleva (I added info from "1066" and although I agree (believe) with it, I wrote the info below the official version).
- "be flexible", nobody is perfect, not even you.
- "Use the preview button" (helped me many times)
Problems I see in Wikipedia (this is only my personal opinion).
- "the "POV-excuse": some users disagree with a part of a article. What do they do? Do they argue their point? No, they say this is POV (a bit like the "Hitler-excuse"). Most of them don´t even bother to explain their reasons in the talkpage.
- "modern scholarship says..." The killer argument (again a bit like the "Hitler-excuse"). If you defend another perspective you are firstly a outdated fool. Secondly, as modern scholarship is not telling what you are defending you must be wrong and they must be right, always. Thirdly, if scholarship says it and you not, you are a defending a POV.
- Basicly, the eager user has read a new book of someone (sometimes it is not even a scholar!) and believes that this scholar is absolutely infallible and has understood everything correctly, this time. We have to rewrite everything, and follow this scholar ad absurdum.
- Look pal, I am willing to bet a very large amount of cash that in a hundred years from now, scholars will teach: "In the early 21st century it was believed that... . Today we know that it is a wrong conclusion."
- "Overeager/self-righteous administrators/vigilantes": Some administrators (and I mean a few) are turning into self-rightous vigilantes, who basicly do what they want. Sometimes, they follow any suggestion of Jimbo to the letter, in a truly Your wish is my command attitude, most of the time they simply follow their own ideas.
- "Jimbo Walles worship": Some ppl simply worship Jimbo, he can never be wrong, he is perfect, and all his views and suggestions are to be followed without any doubts or questions. Praise Jimbo. Look, I like Wikipedia a lot, I think that it is a great idea (or I wouldn't be here, would I?), and I also agree that Jimbo should be respected. But the guy is only human, some of his opinions are debatable and some of his ideas are probably wrong. Some of his attitudes are in fact quite similar to a common politician (and we shouldn't worship politicians).
- "political correctness" leads to plain stupidity, leads to double-standards, leads to censorship, and leads to oppression. 'Nuff said.
The shame of Wikipedia
Despite all its faults I appreciate Wikipedia. However there is one issue which I absolutely despise: namely the handling of the names China and Taiwan. Currently Wikipedia does not follow common sense, and does not use these two names/titles as the whole English-speaking world is doing. "China" does no refer to the current country (officially the People's Republic of China) and "Taiwan" does not refer to the de facto independent country (officially the Republic of China). Under the cover of NPOV a group of users decided to play politics (blatant case of double standards).
In my honest opinion a group of self-righteous (AFAIK Americans and Taiwanese) "anti-communists" and "freedom-fighters" are misusing Wikipedia to bother the Chinese government in a manner and fashion that I can only describe as pitiful.
They are also the most polite group of preachers that I have ever met and hopefully someone with enough authority will do the right thing in the name of common sense and accuracy.
"Stuff" I believe (believe - strange, over-used word these days) in, including a few "loose" quotes (my own stuff is in parentheses)
- Only two things are infinite, the universe and the stupidity of mankind, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein
- ...you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. - Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars, the Return of the Jedi
- (Believers) are civil, educated and ignorant. They´re not mad. They´re trained to believe, not to know. Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is (truly) dangerous. - Scytale from Dune Messiah written by Frank Herbert
- Civilization: a thin veneer over barbarianism. - John M. Shanahan, The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time (In Two Lines or Less)
- Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbour. - Arnold Toynbee
- Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue. - Francois De La Rochefoucauld
- We are all hypocrites. It is in our very nature to be so. So much so that even our protestation of hypocrisy is, in itself, patently hypocritical. - Claire Worthington
- There is only one rule and law you must truly follow: Don't get caught.
- Great empires are not maintained by timidity. - Tacitus
- A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords at dawn.
- By way of deception, thou shalt do war.
- There is no knowledge that is not power. - Mortal Kombat
- Knowledge is power, Guard it well. - motto of the Blood Ravens
- Knowledge is only the first step on the path of power.
- We're drowning in information and starving for knowledge. - Rutherford D. ROGERS, American librarian, Yale University
- May you live in interesting times. - In seems to be a Chinese curse. The reasoning is the following: quiet times are the best, as everything is peaceful and safe. Interesting times are dangerous, stressful, of conflict, and destruction. Still I would like to live in interesting times because truth be told these are also times of change and tremendous progress (technological, political, but also social, etc). As I grow older and wiser (?) I may change my mind.
- Islam is a religion of peace, too bad it has been taken over by way too many hate-filled self-righteous fanatics who preach their own message of terror and medieval xenophobia upon a largely scared and ignorant mob.
- For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world... - Ephesians 6:12 ("and against plain stupidity, blessed ignorance, common incompetence, greedy corruption, self-righteos hypocrisy, and simple lies everyone wants to believe...")
- The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters - Genghis Khan
- paraphrase: What is best in life?" "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women! from the movie Conan the Barbarian
- All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing. - Edmund Burke
- Variant: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke (attributed)
- He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. - Friedrich Nietzsche
- Namque pauci libertatem, pars magna iustos dominos volunt (iv.69.18)
- Only a few prefer liberty, the majority seek nothing more than fair masters. - Sallust, Histories
- Exitus acta probat. (Latin proverb, coined by Ovid)
- translation: The result justifies the deed.
- variant: The ends justifies the means.
- My personal version: "The end must justify the means. If it doesn't, you simply shoudn't use those means."
- TANSTAAFL - "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" - popularized by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein
- easier, simpler, better
- Доверя́й, но проверя́й. (Russian proverb)
- Translation: Trust, but verify.
- Of two competing theories or explanations, all other things being equal, the simpler one is to be preferred. - Occam's Razor, attributed to William of Ockham, 14th century logician
- Satire: "Of two competing theories or explanations, all other things being equal, the more ridiculous and/or awesomer one is to be preferred." - Hancock's Razor, named for 20th/21st century alternative historian Graham Hancock
- If the Aborigine drafted an I.Q. test, all of Western civilization would presumably flunk it. - Stanley Garn
- In anger we should refrain both from speech and action. - Pythagoras
- It is easy to do (human) Justice, hard to do Right. - Sir Nigel Hawthorn in the movie The Winslow Boy (remake of 1999)
- In all things be moderate.
- Freedom of Speech not only means that everyone has the freedom to say what we like to hear. It also means that other people have the liberty to say things we despise and hate.
- War is hell - William Tecumseh Sherman, in fact extracted from a larger phrase
- History is written by victors and by losers, interpreted and sometimes rewritten by intellectuals and fools, manipulated and used by politicians, and simply ignored by rebels and the masses, who always make the same mistakes.
- Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. - chapter 5 of the Little Red Book written by Mao Zedong, aka Mao Tse-Tung
- Power don't come from a badge or a gun. Power comes from lying. Lying big and gettin' the whole damn world to play along with you. Once you've got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain't true, you've got 'em by the balls. - Senator Roark in Sin City
- Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.
- This statement was not made by Julius Caesar and it has also been wrongly attributed to William Shakespeare, but the actual author is unknown. The article on it at Snopes.com states : "No record of this quote has been found prior to its appearance on the Internet in late 2001." Nevertheless, the rationale is true, and proven throughout history (especially recent one).
My insane case against BCE/CE
- BC/AD is simply the most widely used dating system in this English-speaking world. Its religious origins and meaning are undeniable but utterly irrelevant. Nobody can reasonably argue against these facts. In fact, they are only really used when somebody is writing about ancient history.
- I defend and will defend BC/AD solely because it's the most common dating system and nothing else. I'm an atheist living in the Western world but I'm not an anti-Christian zealot. Many who are the second (anti-Christians) claim that they are the first (atheists). They give serious and honest atheists a bad reputation (almost as bad as Christians :).
- To subvert the English language for the sake of political correctness is simply disgusting.
- Ppl who use BCE/CE didn't invent a new calendar (with its own beginning) confusing a lot of readers who never saw CE/BCE before (it honestly confused me first time I saw it). They are simple "subverters" (they want to subvert something around their own personal views).
- IMHO what's BCE/CE? It's simply a pitiful measure of political correctness and nothing more. It's something like this: we are now going to use this religious neutral "BCE/CE", if you like it or not. It is neutral because we say so. This way we and everybody else can still use the western calendar but officially deny its cultural and religious origins in order not to hurt the personal feelings of NON-Christians.
- No reasonable person is going to fall for that one. Does anyone for a second believe that a atheist, a Buddhist, a Muslim, or any non-Christian is going to be offended in his personal sensibilities by the use of AD/BC when he is speaking/writing in the English language? He will be offended only if he wants/wishes to be offended by it. Most of us will be offended (as I am) by this pitiful PC attempt to deny the impact of Jesus of Nazareth and his teachings upon world history in the name of political correctness or even worse, that "you" think that we are ignorant fools and don't know this and that we will be somehow deceived by the use of BCE/CE.
- As a matter of fact BCE/CE isn't being recognized by several automatic text correctors. I can only conclude that BCE/CE is not a common feature of the English language.
- As far as I'm concerned BC/AD has the same religious message and importance as the days of the week: Thursday, Sunday, etc. They certainly had a religious meaning and importance until simply losing it completely. No one is praising Thor when he is saying 'Thursday' (Thor's day) and no one is praising the sun when he says 'Sunday'. When we speak to a 'Rabbi' we are not accepting him as our 'teacher' (but that is the original meaning of the word). When we are speaking to a Christian priest we use the word 'father' but most of us are not proclaiming him as our spiritual father. The same happens with BC/AD.
- No, true and educated non-Christians (including atheists like myself) don't bother themselves with the religious origins and history of common words. We simply use them as nearly everybody else. We rather look upon anti-Christian zealots who loudly proclaim themselves as atheists. We wonder why they are shouting "neutrality" only to attack the most common and nearly universal dating system because of its religious origins.
- I'm an atheist and I personally reached the conclusion long ago that all religions are simple stories created to explain the mysteries of the surrounding universe (where do we come from, what are we doing here, and where do we go after death) and often used to control the masses (don't do that or you will go to hell, do that and you will go to heaven).
- I can only laugh when ppl tell us that "we should respect all religions". That's just yet another modern and popular PC lie. Respect has to be earned and some religions are not worthy of an ounce of respect. All of us should certainly tolerate all religions but only as far they are not hurting someone and/or breaking a fair law. Then you should make a complaint to the proper authorities asap.
- I will never defend a largely unknown dating system because of its whining "neutrality". Have no doubts: many ppl who shout: "neutrality" are in reality misusing the very concept into a means to attack "the evil Christian/western establishment". Neutrality means that we use the most common form. Politics means that we use the most pleasing (for some) form.
- I am not telling anyone that Christianity is good or bad, for that truly depends upon one's personal POV, but its cultural influence (good and bad) upon the world is simply undeniable. IMHO Christianity as an abstract whole is good, but it is mainly a matters of layers.
- We live in a increasingly globalized World, which as a whole was and still is culturally influenced by Western civilization if anyone likes it or not. As such the world simply uses the western calendar and that means BC/AD to a overwhelming extent.
- As far as I can judge this matter BCE/CE is something invented and mostly used by Americans. We shouldn't copy their political correct bullshit - Death to the American dogs! (joke).
- The compromise in Wikipedia is reasonable and should be respected. AFAIK it simply wasn't respected in the article Jesus.
- I despise political correct ppl who want to rewrite everything around their little pink "neutral" political correct view. Invent your own neutral dating system instead of twisting the most popular dating system of the world (BC/AD). Much obliged.
- 'Assume good faith' doesn't mean that we should blind ourselves and it also doesn't mean that we are not free to reach our own conclusions (granted our conclusions may be mistaken; we're only human after all). I consider myself strongly liberal but notice that the word has a different meaning where I live (Europe - and I'm thankful for that).
- FWIW BCE/CE is not anti-religious per se; it's rather specifically anti-Christian. Here in Europe we simply don't use BCE/CE and most of us simply ignore it (it appears here and there but only as an extremely poor second).
- It seems that the "neutrality" side won some cases against the "most common use" side. I have also learned that many 'Jewish subjects' have/had different rules exactly because the subjects are Jewish (that's commonly called privilege or simple double-standards).
- But at least I didn't resort to lies on purpose (honest mistakes are another matter): I never proclaim that the dating system was stable for two years when it wasn't and I never tell that BCE/CE is commonly used in Europe when speaking English because it isn't. But then the truth is never truly an issue, is it?