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A little bit about the FreelanceWizard[edit]

realitywerks system design is my homepage. The forums there are a great way to get in touch with me.

I'm a graduate student in cognitive psychology at the University of Memphis.

I have been published in IEEE Transactions on Education (in press as of now), one edited book, and several peer-reviewed conferences. I have credits on two tabletop RPGs, and I like to think I know a little bit about how to write because of this. I could be wrong, however.

I play City of Heroes more than I probably should.

I'm the designer of the computational architecture for the AutoTutor 3D intelligent tutoring system.

I used to be a MUSHcode psychocoder, doing work for several people, but I haven't touched a MUSH in years. However, this suggests where my nick comes from.

Wikipedian philosophy[edit]

I'm a member of The Association of Mergist Wikipedians. Merge and refactor mercilessly! I'm generally deletionist, but only in terms of articles and information that doesn't matter. The classic example I like here is Category:Something Awful. Does SA really need that many pages? I mean, really, you could axe all but one or two sentences of Something Awful forums and merge that back into a section of Something Awful. The rest of it, on user levels and whatnot, wouldn't matter one whit to someone researching SA or even really websites in general. Also, since Richard Kyanka is only notable through his connection to SA, he really doesn't warrant his own page. As my fiancee says, "An encyclopedia is a place to get an overview and a starting point to learn more." I couldn't agree more. Everything2 exists to cover everything. We need to be more selective. However, since I don't like seeing information obliterated entirely, I prefer to take what's notable out and merge it into another page. I know some people like lots of pages, but I prefer to go by the Wikipedia:Featured Articles example and prefer fewer, larger articles.

I use two rules of thumb when I consider whether an article should stay or not -- and yes, I do read every article upon which I opt to make a statement. First, "Is this an article someone would reasonably expect to see in an encyclopedia, or is a topic someone might reasonably be researching?" I'm aware that Wikipedia is not paper, but as they say over at The Association of Deletionist Wikipedians, Wikipedia is not a junkyard. I want a Wikipedia where sources are cited and a search for a topic doesn't return pages of fan-oriented garbage and a bunch of non-notable junk (there are other sites for that). If I can't see why anyone would care about a topic, or if I don't think even the most inclusive encyclopedia would cover the topic, I go to my second rule of thumb, "Does this article provide useful information to a researcher if they were researching a topic that's one level removed?" For instance, if I'm looking at a webcomic's AFD entry, I consider how useful the article would be to a researcher of webcomics -- regardless of any issues I may have with notability. If I can't see how the researcher would get anything useful from the article, then I vote for deletion; at that point, in my mind, the page is clearly there for vanity or advertising. I would prefer to merge, but people rarely permit that option. Most webcomic authors, for instance, are highly opposed with changing their large and generally useless article into a short synopsis on a more general page. I can't blame them, really, but I do get annoyed when they bring in sockpuppets and meatpuppets and in doing so show bad faith.

This is not, of course, to say that I can't be persuaded. Best of the Fray is an article I originally wanted to delete, but the discussions with (some of) those working on it convinced me that there was a solid claim for notoriety and that they wanted to work in good faith to improve the article. In that case, I'm happy to suggest and work towards a compromise. After all, we are all about compromise here... right?

On the other hand, when someone acts in clearly bad faith, such as recreating an article after it's been deleted, I have no compunctions about coldly laying down the smack with a speedy deletion nomination. Editors who act in bad faith have no place here.

Thoughts on Articles for Deletion and verifiability[edit]

I think Wikipedia could use a serious injection of verifiability. Simply asking for verifiable sources and demanding that people cite sources doesn't really help. Further, I know many experts in the field who won't write for Wikipedia because they feel it lacks academic integrity, or because they need to constantly watch their article to make sure it doesn't get vandalized or screwed up by someone lacking in knowledge. I also know that Articles for Deletion is a bit out of hand, to put it mildly. I think both problems could be solved by implementing a sort of moderation/metamoderation system where the ability of a user to affect the "stable" version of a page is directly related to the degree of confidence the community has in that user. The basic level of confidence is based on verifiable expertise and knowledge in a specific field, and can be affected based on "moderation" votes by other users (which are also modulated by their confidence scores) on your edits. Obviously this would also come with a requirement that all editors be registered users with verifiable existences.

The reason I haven't been bold and proposed this over on Wikipedia:Deletion reform is because it would require a substantial amount of new code and work on behalf of the system programmers and staff. One could, however, fork Wikipedia to accomplish this goal. Perhaps someone (perhaps me!) will take up this challenge and produce a Verifiable Wikipedia.

Wikiwork the FreelanceWizard likes to do[edit]

Merging is something I rather enjoy doing, in addition to random edits on topics I know about. I've been known to engage in a bit of copyediting from time to time. Basically, short of doing requested work, I clobber problems where I see 'em, but I'm not a big fan of writing articles from scratch. Not only do I not particularly know where to start, but I don't want to replicate existing work and thus make more work for other Wikipedians. When I do write an article, it's generally taken off Wikipedia:Requested articles. That way I can write and other people can come up with what I should be writing. :)

Lately I've found myself particularly interested in Wikipedia:Votes for deletion, and I've been following it relatively closely. It's surprising how many non-notable, non-verifiable pieces of junk manage to creep into the Wiki. I'd blame the damn corporate stooges, but I think there are just as many 14 year old l33t d00d stereotypes doing it. It's not that I think 14 year olds can't contribute to Wikipedia; I just like using stereotypes to make fun of people younger than me.

Stuff I did before making an account -- 7/6/05 is when I registered, so anything after that on this IP address isn't, in fact, mine. :)

Lately, as of July 2006, I've found myself falling into the dramatic battle against the tides of evil, also known as RC Patrolling.

Contacting the FreelanceWizard[edit]

Talk pages are nice, but e-mail is quicker. PMs on my boards also do well, but you'd have to register there to send one.


  • User:FreelanceWizard/Drug References - Psychoactive drug references I use.
  • User:FreelanceWizard/Workshop - A scratchpad for texts I'm working on. This could be comments I want to hold while I see if someone else makes the point more lucidly (or if I decide to rewrite in retrospect), article snippets I'm putting together, or anything else Wikipedia-related that I, for any reason, don't want to leave in a text file on my desktop while I work on it.

Copyleft: Dual license[edit]

I used to use the GFDL for everything I wrote that I wanted to distribute, but the nature of Invariant Sections is starting to bug me. As such, I've become a big fan of the Creative Commons Share-Alike Attribution license. I do wish they'd fix a few of the nettling legal holes, though. As such:

Multi-licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License versions 1.0 and 2.0
I agree to multi-license my text contributions, unless otherwise stated, under Wikipedia's copyright terms and the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license version 1.0 and version 2.0. Please be aware that other contributors might not do the same, so if you want to use my contributions under the Creative Commons terms, please check the CC dual-license and Multi-licensing guides.