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O.T. Ford[edit]

Generalist in world studies, based in Los Angeles, but originally from West Lafayette, in Hoosierland. Particular interest in recent history, geography, language and symbols, and the nature and practice of dominion. Proponent of transcendent rationalism, and its corollary, stewardship.

Primary locations of my work:
O.T. Ford — essays and commentaries
Earth as it is — research on the state of the world

And a personal page:
Of The Ford

One of my specialties here at Wikipedia is drastically increasing the length of a talk page: 2004, Kosovo, Stalin, John Paul II.

See: Proposals, at the moment dealing with honorifics and titles.

Leading frustrations[edit]

Administrator abuse. — This frustration trumps all others. There is little if any point in editing here when self-important editors with special powers violate written policies that are meant to govern the use of these special powers. Perhaps worse than that is the broad support such abuse receives from the community. This is incredibly shortsighted; those who cheer abuse when it happens to those they do not like have no defense when they are the victims of abuse themselves.

Biased edits. — I agree with the sentiments of some that calling a thing by its proper name is important — dictatorship, rule, oppression, murder. That is much of the point of the above pages, particularly Earth as it is. I am happy to deal in controversy elsewhere; but Wikipedia, with its open format, is not the place. We have all agreed to produce something that is dry and factual; we should do only that. Of course, this bias is most frustrating when it involves calling a thing what it is not, and is accompanied by accusations that a neutral position is biased.

“Settled” matters. — Policies which are subject to change are taken as divine fiat; agreements reached between a handful of editors at some indeterminate time in the past are taken as constitutional law. While I am called upon to justify my editing practices several times a fortnight (see 2004 and Kosovo), other editors are allowed to resist any change with reference to a discussion with a few or even one other editor a year or two in the past as the last word on any given issue. And such “settled” or “established” policies are held to trump even the policy of neutrality.

Adulation of “superiors”. — Religious figures, royalty and nobility, and other holdovers of pre-modern times are subjects that some editors are clearly incapable of treating factually and neutrally. Styles and titles that are assumed by self-important individuals, or disingenuously “granted” them by their supporters, or bestowed by presumptuous governments, are perhaps matters of fact that can be noted; but they cannot be used if the encyclopedia is to remain neutral. John Paul II and Tenzin Gyatso are not “holy”, Elizabeth Windsor is not “majestic”, and those who insist that to call them so is not an endorsement of these claims are dupes. Naturally, there is a lingering fascination with the pre-modern culture of nobility, and there is no shortage of fanboys here who treat the persistence of the nobility as a terrific game; but between such neo-romantics, fame-addled celebrity worshippers, and the pious devotees of religions and patriotisms of various kinds, the encyclopedia is a testament to inequality, where the egalitarian idea is treated as unacceptable bias.

Page ownership. — Some rather-important pages are treated like personal property by single editors. The most significant instance of this I have seen involved an editor who resisted any change not of its own doing on conservative grounds (id est, “this wording has stood the test of time”), and then summarily substituted a radically-different version while we were still discussing a new version that I had placed on the talk page for consideration.

Gratifying vanity or commercial interest of subjects. — While self-identification is worth taking into account, when self-identification becomes self-promotion we are not in any way obligated to follow suit. If we do so, we abandon the policies of neutrality and common usage and actually engage in advertising. This includes the practice of writing brand names in all caps, which companies support because it calls attention to their brands. This also includes the non-standard and utterly-ridiculous practice of considering the definite article as part of the name of something to the extent that it should be included in an article’s title and capitalized in the middle of a sentence. All the arguments for this practice would likewise support silliness like “graduated from the presitigious The George Washington University”, and will lead to this eventually, if they have not already.

Same thing in Wiktionary
Same thing in Wikibooks
Same thing in Wikinews
Same thing in Commons
Same thing on the metasite.