Lawrence King is an occasional writer for Wikipedia.
Originally from the San Fernando Valley, he spent the last decade in Seattle, and now temporarily resides in Washington, DC.
He is not related to the soi-disant Larry King on CNN, nor to the ex-husband of Billie Jean King, nor to any other person with this name.
Amazingly, Lawrence King is me.
I am a fanatic about Neutral Point Of View on Wikipedia. I have many points of view that I gladly express in other forums, but Wikipedia is the place for neutrality! To me, NPOV is incredibly important, and sometimes difficult. Articles on politics and religion should be written so that believers and opponents can read the article and find it fair.
Among other things, this means Wikipedia articles should not assert that miracles are impossible, but should not assert that they are possible, either. How can this be done? The only way is this: when discussing controverted questions, describe what people believe rather than what the [controverted] facts are. For example, "Theists believe there is a God; atheists do not."
Yet some ideas have to be considered "fringe". For example, there might be someone who believes that John F. Kennedy was a Martian. How can this be handled fairly? The solution is to write an article that assumes JFK was human, and then as a footnote or afterthought mention that there are alternative theories and link to these.
Another gripe I have:
Wikipedia should ban the word "interestingly". Thousands of times per day, a Wikipedia editor adds a tidbit of information to an article, and begins his or her information with "Interestingly...". I could multiply examples forever:
- "Interestingly, Genesis is the most quoted book in the Old and New Testaments...." (Genesis)
- "Interestingly, the compound is not an opioid...." (Epibatidine)
- "Interestingly, the name Kirkby-in-Furness did not exist until the creation of the railway line...." (Kirkby-in-Furness railway station)
- "Interestingly, the nearby Kingsville Kindergarten is actually in West Footscray...." (Kingsville, Victoria)
People, this is disrespecting your reader. It's up to the reader to decide whether this information is interesting -- it's not up to you, the writer. With a few obvious exceptions (who could fail to be awed by the discovery that Kingsville Kindergarten isn't really in Kingsville, Victoria?), whether something is interesting is really a subjective issue. I know it's hard to accept, but there it is.
Here are a few other Wikipedia philosophies that I hold:
With regard to when Wikipedia will be perfect, I am an eventualist.
I believe that it is good advice to avoid copyright paranoia. Of course, legitimate and reasonable respect for intellectual property is essential.
I find the philosophy of Wikipedia Mergism attractive, but believe that it requires pages to become quite long. Is that practical?
I believe there are a lot of difficult years ahead for Wikipedia. It is good for Wikipedians to discuss and debate the various conflicting Wikipedia philosophies. But the greatest danger is not that the wrong philosophy will be chosen, but that no philosophy will be chosen.
Finally, I hate the practice of adding tons of irrelevant links. Please, people! With all due respect to your over-active right pinkies, Disneyland opened in 1955, not in 1955. I don't believe that any of our readers will peruse our biography of Walt Disney and say to themselves, "Ah, now that I know that this famous man's theme park opened in the year 1955, I feel a tremendous urge to know what politicians and actors and authors were born in that year."
||Ending a sentence with a preposition is something that this user is okay with.
he or she
|This user considers the singular they to be substandard English usage.
||This user has their full car licence, and can drive without colliding and crashing.
||This user will gladly add more userboxes if asked, but doubts anyone is actually reading this.
I once put in a lot of work into the following pages. But eventually I gave up, and I take no responsibility for the current state of most of these. Oh well: