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All knowledge is precious, whether or not it serves the slightest human use! —A. E. Housman He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. —Friedrich Nietzsche
Welcome! I'm Harry Mitchell;[note 1] my username is HJ Mitchell and most people call me Harry or HJ for brevity (I really hate being addressed by my surname!).
Sooo... what do I do here? Well, I write articles (you can click the little icons in the top right to see some of those I'm proudest of), and I do a little reviewing and copy-editing of other people's articles. I have wide and varied interests, so I can often be found writing about military history, politics, policing, railways, architecture, and anything else that catches my eye, with a particular emphasis on the English Midlands, which is where I'm from. I'm an avid reader of Wikipedia, and I think editing an encyclopaedia is a great way to broaden your horizons. Oh, and I'm a pedant—if I spot an error, I feel compelled to fix it!
I also get involved with some of the back-end areas of Wikipedia. I'm an administrator and an oversighter (which means I can hide grossly inappropriate content, like libel and personal information, even from other administrators); I'm also an admin on Wikimedia Commons. I like to think of myself as 'keeping the wheels turning' when I'm acting in those capacities—none of them grant me any sort of authority, and I hold those positions only for as long as the community trusts me to. I believe that administrators are elected to serve the community, not their own agenda, and, except in emergencies, should only act in accordance with consensus. Sadly, these hats mean that I spend a lot of time dealing with vandals and spammers and other meta aspects of the project, which doesn't always leave a lot of time to write articles, but I aim to make life easier for the honest article-writers and harder for the aforementioned vandals and spammers.
A slightly more recent photo from the run-up to Wikimania 2014. Here, I'm demonstrating the red t-shirts worn by the volunteers at the conference. Unfortunately, a more photogenic model was not available, so we were stuck with my ugly mug! Btw, I had my hair cut the day after this was taken!
Photo by Chris McKenna
I sometimes do outreach work and organise/run events for Wikimedia UK (a registered UK charity), who pay my train fare so I can get to these places. Through my involvement in Wikimedia UK, I ended up being involved with organising and running Wikimania 2014 in London. I helped to recruit the dozens of volunteers who made sure the conference ran smoothly, advised on community issues, and helped with some of the behind-the-scenes things like planning for emergencies and other boring things that delegates shouldn't have to worry about but somebody has to. During the conference, I coordinated and looked after the dozens of wonderful volunteers, who in turn looked after thousands of delegates for five days. Like any major project, it had its occasional hiccups, but being part of such a wonderful group of people all working towards a common goal was the experience of a lifetime!
This one was taken at Wikimania 2014. Here I am post-haircut with Chris Cooper and Léa Fourmaux—two of the wonderful volunteers—(and a beer!) just before the opening ceremony.
Also by Chris McKenna
Back to Wikipedia itself for a moment, I've been editing since March 2009. I started because I was enticed by the idea that I could edit, and I stick around because I want to help make the encyclopaedia even better than it already is, and because Wikipedians are some of the most remarkable people I've ever come across. I've got to know the place pretty well over the years, so feel free to ask me for help on my talk page—if I can't help you, there's a good chance I'll know somebody who can.
Earlier barnstars etc have been archived to /Awards
The Admin's Barnstar
I saw you clear out a backlog at WP:AIV. Excellent work! It looks much cleaner already - but now your mop is a mess. Hmm.... see the mop on this barnstar here? It's a brand new one, and it has also been doused with a special chemical that makes performing admin tasks 10 times easier! Don't believe me? Just try it. XD --k6ka (talk | contribs) 19:39, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
For your contributions to the Featured Articles Operation Flavius and Death on the Rock you are hereby awarded this Barnstar. Congratulations! For the Military history Wikiproject Coordinators, TomStar81 (Talk) 07:14, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
The Epic Barnstar
For your 2014 contributions to multiple history related articles you are hereby award this Epic Barnstar. Congratulations! For the Military history Wikiproject Coordinators, TomStar81 (Talk) 07:14, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
HJ, you're a very special Wikipedian in my book. Being a mindful, considerate administrator who consistently makes good decisions, or at least tries, is not an easy task, especially considering some of the mine fields one has to navigate when settling a dispute. It's not a simple Tiny TimTiptoe Through the Tulips for sure. Thank you for all you do and all you've done to help keep Wikipedia an enjoyable experience for so many of us. Atsme📞📧 18:56, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
In gratitude for your coordination services to the Military history WikiProject, from September 2014 to September 2015, please accept this WikiProject Barnstar. TomStar81 (Talk) 01:37, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
On behalf of the WikiProject Military history coordinators, I hereby award you the WikiChevrons with Oak Leaves, for: your four years as a coordinator of Milhist (2011–2015); being a great ambassador in the UK for our project through your involvement with Wikimedia events in the UK, such as Wikimania 2014; for fighting vandals; for being incredibly patient and always being willing to lend a hand; and your excellent Featured Articles and Featured Lists. Well done. Peacemaker67 (crack... thump) 01:32, 28 October 2015 (UTC)