User:Goodoldpolonius2

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My status

I am less involved in Wikipedia, then a year or two ago, since it was steadily moving from "fun" to "work." This was due to two reasons: my time here became ever more focused on in-need-of-correction but depressing topics like the Holocaust, while at the same time, Wikipedia policy forces me to treat every contribution to Wikipedia seriously, due to the fact that expertise has minimal value here. I still do make contributions to a variety of articles, but am no longer actively watching most of the topics that caused me great angst before. I hope someone else is keeping up the good fight against bigotry in many of these articles, and I wish them the best!

About me

I assume you are asking the same questions all Wikipedians ask when they hear of my existence: Who am I, how'd I get to be so gosh-darned good looking, and why such a stupid name?

Yes, its a dumb name, I picked it rather randomly before I found out how addictive Wikipedia can be, and now I am stuck - alas! I should also note to avoid current confusion, that despite my ancestors being in large part Polish (and Transylvanian, I might add), I am actually a third generation US citizen -- I chose the name "Polonius" from Hamlet's long-winded father-in-law (see the quote below), and added "GoodOld" when Polonius was taken (though I am not particularly old, though I am particularly good), and "2" when I forgot my original password. Thus creating, as I said, a particularly dumb name that sounds meaningful but isn't particularly.

About me: Basically, I have doctoral or master's qualifications to talk about sociology, organizational studies, entrepreneurship, business, innovation, and the history of technology. I have enthusiastic amateur qualifications when discussing Jews and Jewish history, World history, or other topics, though I do have reasonable training as a historian. I have published articles in a number of places, including, most accessibly, Wired magazine, and some peer-reviewed management and history of technology journals.

I have generally tried to bring a source-heavy approach to Wikipedia, especially to contentious topics, since debate is silly with no outside references, and unsourced articles often turn into disasters. For those who are in school, or have access to a good library, JSTOR is a superb source for Wikipedia's articles on history or the social sciences, though its interface leaves a lot to be desired.

I, Jayjg, hereby award you this Barnstar for your scrupulous adherence to Wikipedia policy and standards, most recently in your brilliant use of reliable sources at Holocaust Denial. 03:34, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

I have been the major contributor on the History of the Jews in ____ series, writing what might be a couple dozen of them at this point, and have also spent a decent amount of time on depressing but necessary topics related to the Holocaust, since Wikipedia is often used as a source on this area, and a lot of information was badly sourced and incomplete. I also have overhauled a number of articles from the ground up so that they flow better, a point of which I am quite proud, including major ones like innovation, Jew, Total war, Judaism, disruptive technology, pogrom, anti-Semitism, Genghis Khan (though that has reverted quite a bit), Holocaust, Immigration to the United States, social network, pogrom, Warsaw Ghetto, and quite a few others.

I am administrator.

I wish wikipedia had spell check. And a reputation system.

Please feel free to leave a message on my Talk page.

To quote my namesake, Polonius, in Hamlet: "Though this be madness, yet there is method in it". Welcome to Wikipedia.

Critics of Wikipedia Worth Reading

I love Wikipedia, but there are many serious issues with it as well, and, like any issues, we should acknowledge them so that we can solve them, and so that readers know the biases that they might encounter. Some biggies:

  • The winner among editors with different POVs is usually the one with the most energy, rather than the most correct or most widely-supported view.
  • Small factual errors are common, and nobody corrects them if they seem plausible (recently, I saw someone inserted that Stanley Milgram's parents were Holocaust survivors, when he was born and raised in the US to a Protestant family who had nothing to do with the Holocaust).
  • Moral relativism abounds (The Allies were just as bad as the Axis! etc.) It is not POV to recognize real distinctions, to do otherwise is to fail as an information source. At the same time, it is never right to repress unpleasant facts (see the Bombing of Dresden in World War II for an article that has done a good job balancing these issues)
  • Conspiracies or fringe views need to be given space far out of proportion with their importance, either because their supporters are vociferous or because they require extensive debunking out of proportion with their actual relevance. See, for example the Auschwitz plaque
  • Articles do not always evolve positively, take a look at the article on Genghis Khan, which used to be coherent and is now a mess.

Those flaws shouldn't scare you away, but you should be aware of them to be a successful editor. To that end, some cogent criticism of Wikipedia:

  • Matthew White has some terrific criticisms, that I think are worth reading. I have used his criticisms as a guideline when trying to find articles to improve.
  • The Register also has some insightful stuff, such as [1]