User:Ground Zero

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I am an administrator of Wikipedia.


"Including" does not imply any limitation. "But not limited to" is a legal redundancy. It is unnecessary in everyday writing in that it adds no meaning to the sentence. Merriam-Webster provides this definition:

"Simple Definition of include
to have (someone or something) as part of a group or total : to contain (someone or something) in a group or as a part of something
to make (someone or something) a part of something"

Note that "part of" is used throughout. "Including" by definition implies that a list is incomplete.

We should assume that people will understand the meaning of ordinary English words, like "including". We do not need to drag the text down through redundancy when the meaning of the word is clear. Here is a more detailed explanation from Get It Write Online. It says, in part, "We should use the verb include to preface a list that is not exhaustive.... If we read the definitions of include in reputable dictionaries... we see that the verb "include" is in no way synonymous with the verb "are".... We should not add the phrase "but not limited to" when we use either the verb include or the verbal including because to do so will create a redundancy: the idea that what is being spoken about is "not limited to what is actually said" is inherent in the meaning of the word include itself. The only instance in which the phrase "includes but is not limited to" is acceptable is in a legal document* or a piece of writing that seeks to resemble one. Legal documents* are often intentionally and excessively redundant in their attempt to prevent every conceivable misreading of a passage."

The issue of whether "including" can be reasonably interpreted to mean something that dictionaries says it doesn't can be avoided by replacing "including" with "such as", which unambiguously introduces a non-exhaustive list of examples.

What is wrong with "is currently" and "is presently"?[edit] says: "The adverb currently is almost always unnecessary. It usually just restates information already conveyed through verb tenses and can be dropped with no loss of meaning." While grammarist acknowledges that "currently can be useful when contrasting current conditions with past or future conditions...." it adds that "such instances are relatively rare."

The present tense tells us what the current condition is of something. We can just let the present tense of the verb do its job without adding a redundant “currently”.

Is there any difference between these pairs of sentences?

  1. Barack Obama is currently president of the United States.
  2. Barack Obama is president of the United States.
  1. The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world.
  2. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world.
  1. Moscow is currently the capital of Russia.
  2. Moscow is the capital of Russia.

The second sentence in each pair means the same thing as the first sentence, but it is shorter and simpler.

Maybe some people think the present tense could be interpreted as meaning a permanent condition unless modified by “currently”. It is called the present tense, not the "permanent tense" for a reason: these sentences aren’t ambiguous, are they?

  • I am sick.
  • It is raining.
  • He is naked.

No-one would think that those are permanent conditions. The same is true of the sentences above; Barack Obama is not the eternal president of the United States – he is limited by both the US Constitution and his own mortality.

Is there ever an appropriate time to use “is currently”?

I would answer with a qualified “no”. There are times when clarification can be useful when contrasting current conditions with past or future conditions. In these cases, “is currently” is correct, but “is now” is better because it is shorter and simpler.

For example:

  • The restaurant will be open tomorrow morning, but it is closed now.
  • I was feeling sick this afternoon, but I’m all right now.

In these cases, the present tense on its own isn’t really enough because the reader has just received contradictory information. Adding “now” provide the emphasis to make the situation clear.

In Wikipedia, however, what may be "now" for the writer (e.g., 2013) will not be "now" for the reader if the article is not updated every year. It is better to use {{As of|year}}, {{As of|year|month}} or {{As of|year|month|day}}, which mark potentially dated statements, and will add an article to the appropriate hidden sub-category of Category:Articles containing potentially dated statements.

What about "is presently"?

“Presently” has traditionally meant “soon” or "imminently", although many people are now using it to mean "now". Will your reader know which meaning you intend? Or could it be confusing? For this reason, it is best to avoid "presently". If you are using it to mean “now”, it probably isn’t needed anyway, for the same reason that “is currently” is redundant.

"was previously" vs. "used to be"[edit]

"Used to be" is a "modal verb". It is a perfectly acceptable formation of the verb. It is preferable to "was previously".

Here are some pages that illustrate the use of "used to be":

Other redundant modifiers[edit]

Other examples of redundant modifiers I've come across in Wikipedia:

  • successfully won
    • "successfully" is often added where the verb on its own is unambiguous: "successfully completed", "successfully graduated", etc.
  • officially registered
  • formally inaugurated
  • first/originally created/founded/established/began/introduced
  • could potentially, could possibly


No part of speech has had to put up with so much adversity as the adverb. The grammatical equivalent of cheap cologne or trans fat, the adverb is supposed to be used sparingly, if at all, to modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. As Stephen King succinctly put it: 'The adverb is not your friend.' -- Jacob Gershman, "Why Adverbs, Maligned by Many, Flourish in the American Legal System", The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2014

Correct: The boy ran really fast to catch the runaway ball. Incorrect: The boy sprinted to catch the runaway ball. Adverbs.... They’re okay once in a while, but in excess they’re an indicator of weak verb choices. In our example, the adverb “really fast” modifies the verb “ran.” But does “really fast” paint a more vivid word-picture for the reader? Use a juicier verb like “sprinted” instead. --Grammarly blog

It is a question of style, but I really don't know why we would use a clunky adverb when there is a perfectly good verb form hanging about that is designed for the purpose.


The phrase "but not limited to" is redundant when used with "including" or similar contructions. The word "including" does not in any way suggest a comprehensive list. Lawyers include it in the wording of legal contracts, but it is unnecessary and wrong in every day writing. If we write Wikipedia like legal contracts are written, people will stop reading it.

This is about whether readers will understand the English word "including". If you use a word that is potentially confusing or may not be understood by many readers, you can hyperlink that word to its definition at Wiktionary. It would be better to re-write the passage to avoid using the word and use plain English instead. I do not think that "including" is such a word. We can assume that Wikipedia readers will have a sufficient grasp of the English language to understand what "including" means, and not require tedious redundancy (see pleonasm) to clarify its meaning.

User page[edit]

Why "Ground Zero"? I am a child of the 1980s, and grew up with the threat of nuclear holocaust hanging over my head. My favourite movie is Don McKellar's Last Night about how an array of characters spend their last night on earth before the unexplained end of the world. ("It's not the end of the world: there are still six hours left.")

It did not occur to me when choosing the username that there would be any connection to the September 11 tragedy in 2001 in the United States. I mean no disrespect to its victims or their families.


Wikipedia:Canadian wikipedians' notice board. .VfD Ridings Vandalism. Template:ON-ED [[Category:Citation and verifiability maintenance templates]]

Nice things from nice people[edit]


Flag of Canada.svg
This Canadian Tireless Contributor Barnstar is presented to User:Ground Zero for his continuous work on Canadian related articles. Presented by Tony the Marine 06:06, August 20, 2005 (UTC)
For your tireless work on all things Canadian, especially the elections tables, I hereby award you the Barnstar of National Merit. --Deathphoenix (KC)
A Barnstar!
The Working Man's Barnstar

For your extensive work across so many articles to ensure quality, from the minor details to the big—all of which provides evidence that there must actually be more than 24 hours in a day. GrantNeufeld 16:54, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

[[File:|75px|alt=A Barnstar!]]
The Geography Barnstar

I award you the GEOGRAPHY barnstar, for your excellent contributions in the Malta article Maltesedog 12:46, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

A Barnstar!
The Random Acts of Kindness Barnstar

You're a super-duper editor, and you go that extra mile for the cause! Great work! Ardenn 02:53, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for your help on the Transzap article. That was very kind of you! >— comment added by CourtneyLBrewer (talkcontribs)

Original Barnstar.png The Original Barnstar
For lack of a better Barnstar, I award this to both Ground Zero and Khoikhoi for their wonderful efforts in introducing me to Wikipedia on both the Western Alienation and the Bergama articles, my first major contributions. I will forever respect both of you for your professionalism and kindness, and will follow your leads in all my Wikipedia edits. Thanks again for showing me that Wikipedia is, in fact, a noble cause. Gregorof.

Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif The Tireless Contributor Barnstar
I thought I'd give you this barnstar for your tireless contributions I have been noticing in numerous articles. Wikidudeman (talk) 05:33, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Barnstar of Diligence.png The Barnstar of Diligence
For your tireless contributions, I award you this barnstar. Sometimes I feel as if you're following me around to every article I contribute to and fixing all of my spelling, grammar, and MoS mistakes. At least I know someone reads my work, even if its just proofreading! Keep up the great work. MrPrada 15:40, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for the editing help with the David Standish Ball article! Bearian 19:56, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Allaroundamazingbarnstar.png All Around Amazing Barnstar
I award you the All-Around Amazing Barnstar. You’re an impressively intelligent editor! RogDel (talk) 17:07, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Spelling out acronyms[edit]

See Wikipedia:MOS#Acronyms_and_abbreviations:

Write out both the full version and the abbreviation at first occurrence
When introducing a new name in an article, it is good practice to use the full name on its first occurrence, followed by the abbreviated form in parentheses. For example, The New Democratic Party (NDP) won the 1990 Ontario election with a significant majority (first mention of New Democratic Party in the article), and The NDP quickly became unpopular with the voters (subsequent mention).

Spelling out an acronym on first use is not just Wikipedia style, it is standard writing style. It makes writing more accessible to a broader range of readers. Should a reader have to click on a link to find out what an acronym stands for? Why can't we explain to them what it means?

WP:OBVIOUS says “State facts that may be obvious to you, but are not necessarily obvious to the reader.”

The idea of accessibility pops up repeatedly in Wikipedia style manuals and guides: Wikipedia:Make technical articles accessible says:

Articles in Wikipedia should be accessible to the widest possible audience. For most articles, this means accessible to a general audience.
Every reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that material is presented in the most widely accessible manner possible. If an article is written in a highly technical manner, but the material permits a more accessible explanation, then editors are strongly encouraged to rewrite it.
Use jargon and acronyms judiciously. In addition to explaining jargon and expanding acronyms at first use, you might consider using them sparingly thereafter, or not at all. Especially if there are many new terms being introduced all at once, substituting a more familiar English word might help reduce confusion (as long as accuracy is not sacrificed).

Wikipedia:Explain jargon says:

Words and phrases used as jargon by any profession or group should usually be avoided or explained.

As Wikipedia:Writing better articles says:

Wikipedia is an international encyclopedia. People who read Wikipedia have different backgrounds, education and worldviews. Make your article accessible and understandable for as many readers as possible. Assume readers are reading the article to learn. It is possible that the reader knows nothing about the subject: the article needs to fully explain the subject.
Avoid using jargon whenever possible.


  • Commas make sentences easier to read by grouping the different parts of the sentence in a logical way. There is no shortage of them, but many writers seem loath to use them. Here is a supply for anyone who is concerned about running short. Please help yourself:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,     , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   , , , , , , ,  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
, , , , , , ,   ,   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,       , ,   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , ,   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thanks, I took three (so you'll know when to re-order) Bo 17:53, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

IOU seven commas, BigNate37 06:17, 12 July 2006 (UTC) (here have some links for your trouble)
Thanks, muchly. Ground Zero | t 19:43, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Borrowed one, will return! 21:56, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Here are those commas I borrowed ( , , , , , , ) sorry I took so long! BigNate37(T) 21:29, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm taking three commas out of the country. And you will never, never, never be able to find them! -The Gnome (talk) 16:51, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Commas are cheap and plentiful. I have added a couple of extra rows so that people won't be shy about taking and using them. Please come back for more when you run out. Ground Zero | t 23:22, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
I took five of your commas and I'm going to use them as apostrophes! Bwahaha! Useight (talk) 04:27, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

I found a whole bunch of spares separating subjects from predicates, so I'm leaving them here, since this seems to be the local clearinghouse: ,,,,,,,,,, Sarcasticidealist (talk) 18:37, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

I ran out, so I have borrowed a few of yours. Thanks heaps. Spy007au (talk) 20:10, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • You and your comma pinko friends think you're so damn clever... concealing your true intentions and sneaking around under the deceptive guise of grammar and "logic" to subvert the natural order of run-on sentences by grouping together words and phrases and clauses so you can methodically implement your insidious collectivist schemes without anyone noticing or even suspecting what you were up to until it was too late to turn back and avoid the everlasting hell of comma-nist enslavement. Well I fixed that! You'll never get away with it now! Cgingold (talk) 22:19, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

I found an unnecessary comma in the Jim crow laws article and placed it in the above list for you. --superioridad (discusión) 06:07, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Many thanks. Feel free to come back for it any time. Ground Zero | t 14:46, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Furthermore, they make articles easier to read for visually impaired people who use screen readers. See the comment that I received about a particular edit:

"I thought I was the only one who thought that many wikipedia articles lack commas in the appropriate places. I use a screen reader with a speech synthesizer, which will only pause when there is a comma or colon in the text. Usually, if a sentence doesn't sound right when spoken by the synthesizer, it means that it is missing a comma. I've always believed that a comma should separate two clauses, and therefore should naturally break up a sentence into comprehensible parts. I'm just glad someone agrees with me on this point. Graham 9 July 2005 07:40 (UTC)"
  • I would rather rearrange or split the sentence to avoid the need for a comma. Short, simple, positive sentences - sentences that avoid too many subclauses - are best, in my opinion, although some may disagree, I suppose. Aymatth2 (talk) 03:21, 23 October 2009 (UTC)


Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
-- William Strunk Jr., in The Elements of Style (1918)
George Orwell’s famous six rules for writing, taken from “Politics and the English Language”:
(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.
(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

I have done a fair bit of copyediting around here because many articles are not written clearly. When copyediting, I try to keep in mind that many users will come to the English version of Wikipedia because it is the most complete, even though English may not be their first language. Here are some of the things I keep in mind when editing articles:

  • Long sentences can prevent these readers from being able to use Wikipedia. Breaking long, run-on sentences up into separate, concise thoughts can make Wikipedia easier to understand. The Wikipedia:Guide to writing better articles says: "Use short sentences does not mean use fewer words. It means don't use unnecessary words, and sometimes using full stops/periods rather than commas."
  • Non-English-speaking people can find sentences with complicated structures very difficult to read. It seems that many Wikipedia writers have an aversion to subject-verb-object sentences.
  • "Which" and "that" are not interchangeable. Each has its own use and conveys different information to the reader. Please see below for more.
  • Initialisms (acronyms) should be spelled in full in the first instance in an article, and not just Wikilinked, i.e., "Member of Parliament (MP)", not "[[MP]]".
  • References to places should include the country in which they are located, e.g., "Quebec, Canada", and not just "Quebec" (at least, until such time as Quebec is an independent country.)

I hope that my aggressive copyediting doesn't cause offence. If it does, then you should re-read the warning at the bottom of every Edit page:

If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, do not submit it.

Thank you.


WP:OVERLINK specifically says:

"Unless they are particularly relevant to the topic of the article, it is generally inappropriate to link:
  • plain English words;
  • terms whose meaning would be understood by almost all readers;
  • items that would be familiar to most readers, such as the names of major geographic features and locations, religions, languages, common professions and common units of measurement (particularly if a conversion is provided);
  • dates."

WP:REDNOT says: "Do not create red links to articles that are not likely to be created.... Red links to personal names should be avoided—particularly when the name is reported in a context which might cause readers to hold a low or critical opinion of the named individual. Frequently a red-linked name has been placed in an article, and subsequently a different editor has created an article about an entirely different person with the same or a similar name."

Capitalization of headings[edit]

The Wikipedia style for capitalizing headings is to use "sentence case" instead of "title case", e.g.,

Important things to know about this subject


Important Things to Know About This Subject

This may be unfamiliar to many editors who believe that or have been taught that "title case is the right way to capitalize headings". It isn't the "right way", it is one style. Wikipedia has, for better or worse, chosen to follow a different style, i.e., capitalize the heading the same way you would capitalize any sentence:

  • capitalize the first word,
  • capitalize any proper nouns (people, places, organizations), and
  • begin all other words with lower case letters.

See WP:MSH for more information.

Which or that?[edit]

Many Wikipedians use which and that interchangeably. Each of these words has a specific use that conveys different meanings to the reader. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate the difference:

A1. My car that is blue needs painting.
A2. My car, which is blue, needs painting.

Each sentence tells us something about the car, but the choice of which or that changes the meaning of the sentences.

In sentence A1, the use of that suggests that I own more than one car and therefore must specify that I am talking about a particular car—the blue one. If I left out "that is blue", the reader would not know which of my cars I was talking about.

In sentence A2, I am telling you that I own only one car, and that it needs painting. The fact that it is blue is incidental. I am only adding that in as additional information. I could leave out that information and the sentence would still make sense.

B1. The studies that were written by graduate students are well-researched.
B2. The studies, which were written by graduate students, are well-researched.

In sentence B1, the reader understands that only some of the studies were written by graduate students. If I were to omit "that were written by graduate students", the sentence tells the reader, "The studies are well-researched". This would be inaccurate, because not all of the studies were well-researched—only those written by graduate students. "[That] were written by graduate students" is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

On the other hand, in sentence B2, the information that the studies were written by graduate students is not necessary for the sentence to convey the correct meaning; in this case, all of the studies were well-written. The fact that they were written by graduate students may be interesting, but the central point of the sentence, that the studies were well-written, would still be clear even without that additional information.


  • Use that when the information is essential to the meaning of the sentence.
  • Use which when it is not essential.

Also note that because which introduces incidental information, unlike that, it is typically preceded by a comma.

As well as[edit]

This really means "and", doesn't it?

WP:ATE says:

Articles should use only necessary words. This does not mean using fewer words is always better; rather, when considering equivalent formulations, choose the more concise one. Consider the view of William Strunk, Jr. from the 1918 work, The Elements of Style:
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
Reduce sentences to the essentials. Wordiness does not add credibility to Wikipedia articles. Avoid temporary expressions like "due to the fact that" in place of "because", or "at the present time" for "currently". The ideal method of specifying on-going events is "as of 2009". Wikipedia "grammar bots" will replace these types of expressions with correct wording.
Conciseness does not justify removing information from an article. The use of subjective qualifiers should be avoided.

My work[edit]

See: User:Ground Zero/Articles

Vandalism of this page[edit]

This page has been vandalized about a dozen times. I have listed some below, but I've stopped updating the list because the vandalism was generally boring.

1. 15 June 2005 -- an anonymous editor, who did not like the user name I had chosen, wrote: "shut up! it's a disgrace to real american heros who died on that day to have you digrace their fine memory with this kind of liberal bullshit! Find a new name or just move to frace, oh sorry canda, they have socialism there, you'd like it"

As noted above, and in the Ground Zero article, the term pre-dates September 11 and has a much broader usage. The headline on 29 August 2005 edition of the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper was "Ground Zero", in reference to the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina. I think that the vandal must be too young to remember the use of the phrase prior to 2001.
His edit summary went further to call me a "liberal fucktard". I am actually a Red Tory fucktard.

2. 31 August 2005 -- User:BillGates (probably not the real one) edited my page so that it read, "A flaming homosexual since a week ago last Saturday." This is a blatant lie: I have been a flaming homosexual since 1992.

3. 24 February 2006 -- my page was vandalized twice by and The first vandalism was spam, the second was more personal: "Since he likes the internet site We decided to start to gather information for an internet site page for Kevin... another Wikipeda hypocrite that goes by the rather pathetic geekish username GroundZero.. Kevin (we will withold last name for now) is in his mid 20's... about 24, single, who lives in Mississauga, while Tawkerbot is from Vancouver. His hair appears to be black. He is not very tall, and could use some exercise, and he could also some vitamins for his complexion. Yeah Kevin, maybe you should get off of typing all day on your computer keyboard, and get some excerise. It get out a little more also. You would probably have a better social network if you got out a little more also, according to reliable sources."

I'd be quite happy to be 24 again, but not if I had to live in Mississauga. You are free to believe what you want of this. Of course, it doesn't matter what anyone believes about me because I am not a public figure, and have no Wikipedia article, unlike Raymond Samuels, who appears not to be playing with six men on the ice. Ground Zero | t 13:49, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

If you're going to go to the effort of vandalizing my user page, make it worthwhile. Post something funny or creative. Thanks.


WP:NOTABLE, an essay on notability, states clearly (in bold text): "There is no official policy on notability."

Further, there is no consensus that "notability" should be a criterion for inclusion. See the grounds for deletion at Wikipedia:Deletion policy, and, for interest, Jimbo Wales' view on notability, as expressed in the poll where notability failed to become an accepted reason for deletion.

Disclosure: I previously wrote using the user name "Kevintoronto".

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.

Hello! Please add your comments to the bottom of my talk page instead of here. Thank you.