In the long run my observations have convinced me that some men, reasoning preposterously, first establish some conclusion in their minds which, either because of its being their own or because of their having received it from some person who has their entire confidence, impresses them so deeply that one finds it impossible ever to get it out of their heads. Such arguments in support of their fixed idea ... gain their instant acceptance and applause. On the other hand whatever is brought forward against it, however ingenious and conclusive, they receive with disdain or with hot rage - if indeed it does not make them ill. Beside themselves with passion, some of them would not be backward even about scheming to suppress and silence their adversaries. I have had some experience of this myself. ... No good can come of dealing with such people, especially to the extent that their company may be not only unpleasant but dangerous. (Galileo Galilei)
I had been using Wikipedia and following the news stories about it for quite a while when I got into an argument with someone on a newsgroup about Wikipedia's reliability as a source. As I defended the Wiki principle of "anyone can edit", I realized that I could be editing instead of talking about it. That was in late 2005.
I wouldn't spend as much time as I do on it if I didn't still think Wikipedia was a great project. It attracts people who want to help write a free on-line encyclopedia of human knowledge. That so many people want to do that, and successfully can, seems incredibly cool to me.
I respect the goals of the project, and so I support Wikipedia philosophies and policies, particularly WP:AGF, WP:3RR, WP:NPOV, WP:NPA and WP:VAND. I have been described as a 'self-righteous MOS-stickler and "brilliant prose" nitpicker' and a"god of Grammar", and these are things I proudly identify with. This is amazing! It sums up how we can use conflicts to build our community instead of letting them tear us apart. I recommend that everyone read it.
Fixing spelling errors using AWB. Great fun! I used to also do this under the account User:Spellmaster. I strive very hard for total accuracy, but if I make a mistake, please revert (if you wish), and drop me a message in my talk page so I know you consider it a mistake and can improve my edits.
Weapons and war
Scottish literature and poetry
Science, especially chemistry
'The itis': I have made 167,695 edits as of 1 March 2015.