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Gosgood, with Olmsted and Zeke, Prospect Park September 04, 2000

Name: Garry Osgood
Location: Brooklyn, City of New York
Origin: Allenstown, New Hampshire
Arrived at Wikipedia: Saturday, December 18, 2004.
First main namespace Edit: 03:41, 2 January 2005 to Grand Army Plaza

I live in Park Slope until very recently with one dog, "Olmsted", named after Frederick Law Olmsted (he has recently passed away). Because of Olmsted, I spent an inordinate amount of time in Prospect Park, I still participate, almost daily, in an early-morning dog-walking ritual with other canine lovers. Because of this, my most significant contributions to Wikipedia concern Brooklyn in general and my neighborhood in particular.

Last September I left Wall Street to go to graduate school. Off to animate the impossible...



How am I spending my time?[1]



Other Stuff

Mainly, I'm a WikiGnome. Uncategorized good articles

Contact Me[edit]

If you need to discuss Wikipedia matters with me, please visit my Talk Page.

Wikipedia musings[edit]

Mainly, I think Wikipedia is — putting it kindly — substandard. What might one call a reference with 5,078,865 articles, of which only about 1,370 have obtained featured status, and of which about an additional 2,040 are considered "good articles"? Look at the criteria for featured and good articles. They only establish base standards that I would require from every article in every tertiary reference, including Wikipedia. Roughly, then, only about two tenths of one percent of Wikipedia rises to the standards of a useful tertiary reference. When Andrew Orlowski of the The Register labels this web site Jimbo's Big Bag of Trivia, I'm hard pressed to disagree.

So why bother editing at all? Because it's still the good fight. As overwhelming the dreck may be in Wikipedia, one can still type that word into Wikipedia's search box and get an answer that stumbles toward the truth, leaving the reader with at least a little clue. That small miracle still happens more often that not.

Lately, however, I think that the encyclopedia might improve immensely if:

  1. editors never take themselves seriously,
  2. always fill out the edit summary box,
  3. hit Show preview a few times before hitting Save Page
  4. furnish significant edits only when quality, verifiable references go with the post.
  5. cease editing the moment they feel stress.

We're not editors. We're actually nebbishes, out to schlep references and paraphrase the underlying. And if the references contradict our cherished worldly views? Our opinions can't be verified because readers can't open up our skulls and check the content. Consequently, our opinions matter not a whit. That's why we are nebbishes. Only the reference can be checked and thereby have any material bearing at all. We should be happy that we've learned something new.

And if another editor nebbish reverts our edits? Here is my take:

What to do when another nebbish reverts your edit[edit]

  • 'Leave the edit link alone!!!' Don't touch it! It's radioactive, a cancer causing agent, and will remain radioactive for a day or two. Really. It's a feature of the latest MediaWiki release. [citation needed]
  • Instead, do one of the following:
    • Take a walk, or
    • Go work at your day job, or
    • Go on a Recent change patrol, or
    • Read another article concerning an entirely different subject, or
    • Get something to eat, perhaps with some fine wine or a nice pint of beer, or
    • Play with a child or a pet, or
    • Play cards. Bet liberally. Win some. Lose some. Laugh. Cry. Live.
  • Spend at least a half day in some combination of these pursuits. Better yet, take the whole day. You will never fall afoul of the Three Revert Rule if, after a revert, you take a day-long Wikibreak.
  • If you decide your edit wasn't that important after all, congratulate yourself. You are beginning to grok the Neutral point of view, as much a frame of mind as a Wikipedia policy. Life is short. You are wasting it if you are not enjoying every minute of it. It has been determined by a world-renowned panel of Wikiholics that only 0.16712 percent of Wikipedia editors ever get any enjoyment out of edit wars. It's true. Really. [citation needed] Why are you pissing yourself off, and pissing your life away at the same time?
  • Otherwise, if you decide that your reverted edit had merit, disengage your ego from the edit and ground its existence upon verifiable references instead:
    • Use a search engine not as a source of verifiable references, but as a first step in finding them. The reliable references will likely be printed on dead trees from well known publishers. Don't trust web pages. If Wikipedia is mostly dreck, the World Wide Web is mainly dreck. Rarely, a website might approach the standard of a published, printed source, and those few that do are mainly online versions of printed sources.
    • Take a trip to the library. Read. Find out if your edit is supportable.
    • Maybe three, maybe four days later, you'll be ready to post. Post, and don't forget the citations.

If every editor nebbish followed this program, the rate of change to Wikipedia would drop way, way, down, but the few edits that would still be commissioned would be so much better, and so much less susceptible to reversion. The exercise of searching for, and, perhaps, failing to find supportable references would disinvest egos from edits, and transform disputes among individuals with differing world views into exercises that discover differing world views among references, a fact that in itself is valuable to establish in articles. Note how this transformation also disengages the egos of participating editors. That is a good thing.

Probably this is not going to happen in this or the next century, but hope springs infernal. Wannabe administrators had better follow this policy, however, if they hope to solicit my support.

So's yez wants to be a gooder writer[edit]

Tony's observations on achieving brilliant prose.

Committed identity[edit]

Committed identity: cd63aee0cce5ed9f487c903ef7469c2f1cc2c1be5e21068b63166098cacf0ca33ac42f79fa5801f77ae3c537a8ad4ad336246c69f0726a621d54e140f0501a7e is a SHA-512 commitment to this user's real-life identity.

External Links[edit]

Bits and pieces of me may be found on my RCN home page.


  1. ^ User:Interiot's Kate wannabe tool
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