User:J.H.McDonnell

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Hi and welcome to my user page. Not a defacto personal website

About myself[edit]

A personal introduction. I am a retired exploration geologist with some 30 years field experience. I now volunteer the the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque NM, where I now live.

I am an independent and analytical thinker, not taken in by a compulsion to conformity, something which seems to set a few into conniption.

Participation in Wikipedia[edit]

Contributions
My contributions to Wikipedia are pretty much limited to subjects I know something about, either though academic training or serious independent study, geology, paleontology, zoology, and astronomy -- some yet to come.

Miscellaneous other
You won't find me patrolling simply to find things to "correct"; nor have I assigned myself any extra-lateral duties but I may remove material I find to be superfluous and/or obsolete when I happen to find it and to smooth up prose when needed. I try not to disrupt other people's contributions except where accuracy and clarity are at stake.

Comments and ideas[edit]

added Nov. 2012

What's this all about anyway

That is, Wikipedia. As I see it, its is about presenting well written, well organized, and accurate information on various subjects for those who are interested. To paraphrase, the operative word is content, content, content; which should come well ahead of format.

Consensus
The concept of consensus is brought up from time to time by fellow users, especially by those who find comfort in conformity. Now consensus does have its value. It can be an indication of validity or good judgment. One problem however is, what does it result from. It can result simply from those counted simply going along, even mindlessly, with what ever is done. While it is best the result of statistically valid, independent analysis, of what ever is being decided, that is not necessarily the case. So my advice, for what ever its worth, is use consensus as advisement, not some immutable rule. And think for yourself.

Reference protocol
It is essential, as required by Wikipedia that encyclopedic work be substantiated by meaningful references. For this Wikipedia provides two voluntary options. One is to write (type)out the reference between html ref indicators, the other is to fill in the blanks in some reference template. The first seems more efficient and can be just as accurate, if not more.

At minimum, references should include author's (or authors') name(s), title of publication, date published, and name of publisher or journal. Nothing else should be required. It should be up to the reader to seek out the references given, by either searching online, or going to the local library. Providing online links, were available, is simply an added nicety.

In long articles, especially those involving multiple topics and references, inline references are preferable. That can be simply be by inserting the author's name and date of publication, with the full reference given at the bottom. Or, it can be done be inserting a link with the reference appearing in a "reflist". In short, simple articles, especially those involving no more than say three references, simply putting references at the bottom ought suffice.

General suggestions[edit]

Try and write articles on subjects you understand and know somethings about.Almost any one capable with a computer can learn to cut and paste.

Consider the potential audience and don't write to the specialist or to your level of specialty. These people are already well versed in their field and normally would go to original sources for research. As a suggestion the audience might be adults with at least a good high school education but not necessarily with a college degree. High school students with some classroom experience in the subject should be considered.

Stay within a single field or group of related fields. Don't go helter-skelter all over the place just because different things strike your fancy.

Links[edit]

Links are useful in finding related topics or in further understanding of some topic or concept included. Links should be seen as suggestions and shouldn't be required for a basic understanding of the subject. For all their worth, it's probably better to under do than over do. Be sure links go to pages that are relevant to the page from which is connected. Almost everyone knows were North America or Africa are, or what the Atlantic Ocean is, so unless the page has a comprehensive section further detailing to original subject, don't link it. Also minimize, but don't necessarily eliminate red-letter in text links, but don't leave them standing too long.





This page is subject to revision