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
I'm Harry Mitchell; my username is HJ Mitchell and most people call me Harry or HJ for brevity (I really hate being addressed by my surname!).
I write about military history, architecture, and anything else that piques my interest. Other subjects I dabble in include railways, policing, politics, and current events but sometimes I'll read about something elsewhere, look it up only to realise it doesn't have an article, and then write the article to satisfy my own curiosity. I once wrote an article on a train after seeing the subject mentioned in the news.
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. I strongly believe that administrators are servants of the community and should remain in the position only for as long as they enjoy the community's confidence. The downside of these positions is that I tend to spend more time dealing with vandalism and spam and other nonsense rather than writing encyclopaedia articles.
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! I had my hair cut the day after this was taken!
Photo by Chris McKenna
I have in the past volunteered with Wikimedia UK, the registered charity that supports Wikipedia in the UK; I'm less involved these days, partly as my life has moved in different directions and partly because of disillusionment with the internal politics. Through my involvement in Wikimedia UK, I became involved in organising and running Wikimania 2014 in London. I recruited 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. During the conference, I 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.
If you like trivia, my favourite colour is teal, I have a penchant for single malt whisky (double and neat!), and I'm 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) and stocky but generally considered a "gentle giant".
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)
This was an excellent closure, recognizing the purpose of closing discussions and making thoughtful judgments and considerations on all perspectives on the issue. It clearly took a lot of time and thinking to produce. Thanks so much, and keep doing what you do. Mz7 (talk) 21:41, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
For you work on the Featured Article Northampton War Memorial, which honors the dead from both World Wars, I hereby present you with the World War Barnstar. Congratulations! For the Military history WikiProject Coordinators, TomStar81 (Talk) 08:08, 3 January 2017 (UTC)