No obscure corner of Wikipedia is safe from this user's rabid agenda-driven crusade to censor spelling errors.
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Who is Mandruss, anyway??
I once skydived, twice. (skydove?)
Currently in the Jehovah's Witness Protection Program.
More seriously, for anyone who cares ...
I'm just a somewhat competent mid-level editor, and I don't currently aspire to be more than that.
I strongly believe in the fundamental Wikipedia concept of collaboration, and I tend to show little tolerance for editors who do not collaborate, especially if they have some experience. Collaboration does not mean editing an article at the same time as other editors. It means discussion, give-and-take, and respect for consensus. I fully support the essay, Wikipedia:Process is important.
I believe that a certain level of humility is important at Wikipedia as well as in life; at the same time, I am often quite assertive in a discussion.
I work hard to know what I don't know — to know the limits of my Wikipedia knowledge — to avoid venturing too far into areas where I lack competence. I often fail at that.
My greatest editing strengths lie in matters of form, not substance (I do not create articles, for example). I believe that matters of form are important in an encyclopedia, and I feel that Wikipedia gives them short shrift.
While editing has come to occupy quite a lot of my free time, I try not to become so invested in Wikipedia that I would find it difficult to quit. I created a personal userbox, mostly as a reminder to myself:
Assorted musings about Wikipedia. You're welcome to respond on my talk page, especially if you can articulately disagree with me or enlighten me. These are some of my opinions, as of today, 30 August 2016.
Culture of disrespect
Following is a community consensus, as I understand it, such as it can be determined from the relatively few vocal editors:
It would be too restrictive, repressive, unnecessary, and/or impossible (depending on who you ask) to require people to treat others with common respect if they want to edit Wikipedia. To be fair, this would require us to define very precisely what constitutes a violation, covering every conceivable situation in detail, resulting in a policy that would resemble the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and would be about as usable. It would be wrong to ever require someone to leave unless we could point to policy fragments that clearly and specifically prohibited precisely what they said in precisely those situations. How could they know they were crossing the line if the line was unclear? We may be routinely disrespectful, but we must never be unjust.
Besides, the definition of common respect is not universal. There are cultural differences; even within a culture, disrespect to one might not be disrespect to another. How would we resolve these differences in a way that does not discriminate? Thus, we have no choice but to apply the most liberal, least restrictive standard anywhere in the English-speaking world.
Finally, Wikipedia does not censor speech, except when we do. An editor should be forgiven for telling another to "go fuck yourself", if the other deserved it. It's just harmless words anyway. It is impossible to know whether the community feels that anyone ever deserves to be told to go fuck themselves, so we must accept the viewpoint of a majority of a miniscule slice of the editing population, those few who care to stand up in a very contentious situation and voice an opinion.
All those problems aside, imposing such a standard would cost the project a large number of experienced editors who have no control over their behavior—hey, we are what we are, no use fighting it—and the project would suffer terribly without them. The project might actually fail before it had time to replace that lost experience. Add to that the large number of new editors who would be forced to leave before they even got started. Large numbers of potentially good editors being kept away or driven off by the rancorous atmosphere? Prove it.
The culture of disrespect must be accepted because that's just how most people are. If any of us find it offensive, we just need to grow thicker skins; it's not such a big deal. Or, if we can't do that, no one is forcing us to edit Wikipedia.
Do you buy it? —May 2016.
Changing your mind, changing your !vote
Are you prepared to change your mind in a discussion? Or, are you surrendering to confirmation bias, failing to consider opposing arguments fairly, being unwilling to show fallibility, and/or putting your need to WIN first? I suspect it's the latter in almost all cases.
(I also believe, with no scientific basis that I've seen, that our brain structure and function make it difficult to change our minds. If that's so, both psychology and neuroscience are involved. Going even deeper into an area where I don't belong, our psychology is probably just a manifestation of our brain structure and function anyway.)
If your opposition presents stronger arguments, and you recognize that, do you change your !vote? Or, do you simply go silent, hoping the closer reads your silence as "I'm right, but I'm not going to argue with you anymore", or that you got distracted elsewhere and never returned? Which better serves the project?
I almost never see someone else change their !vote, and that seems wrong to me. I probably change mine about 5 percent of the time, and I'm working on increasing that number. I am not perfect, and I am not immune to these tendencies. —May 2016.
Selective burden of proof
Avoid placing the burden of proof on your debate opponents, unless you are prepared to self-impose that burden in similar situations. Or even in that situation—they have not "proven" their assertion true, but have you "proven" it false?
We all make judgments based on instinct, experience, and reasoning, and in many cases it is not reasonable to demand that your opponent produce "proof" of their assertions. If they spent the hours of work required to assemble such proof, even where it's possible to do so, many would then spend a few minutes finding holes in the proof, and this could go on forever. To one who uses this tactic, no amount of proof would be adequate.
This is another example of unfair play, conscious or unconscious, that serves our need to WIN more than it serves the project. —May 2016.
This intersects the essay, Wikipedia:Too long; didn't read, but adds some personal opinion and necessary directness.
If one summarizes for conciseness, their argument is criticized as flawed and uncompelling, the necessary gaps in it located and exploited to advantage. If they take the time to craft the more complete argument, the same people will often dismiss it as tl;dr.
Such practice is bad-faith and unethical—either way it goes, you score a debate point in the minds of many readers. As such, it is counter to the project's goals and interests.
I believe that some are doing this out of unconscious habit. But they fail to self-reflect, recognize the problem, and fix it, which is no more excusable than using the tactics consciously.
And some are surely doing it consciously, believing that the end justifies the means, this rooted in their Machiavellian (un)ethical systems. There is no Wikipedia policy against these tactics, therefore they are fair play. Incorrect.
I never invoke tl;dr in a serious discussion. I'm a slow reader; if it was too long for me to read, I simply leave it for others to respond to. —May 2016.
Picking the low-hanging fruit
Scenario: Jack's debate opponent, Jill, makes three points in one comment/post: A, B, and C. A and B are pretty strong, and Jack can't think of good counters for them. C is easier to counter, so Jack counters it in good faith.
If a reader feels that Jack's counter seems stronger than C, Jack scores a debate point in that reader's eyes. If the reader does not have a lot of time (or has other things on their mind), they may miss the fact that A and B were not countered, and that Jill has therefore scored two debate points. This may affect the reader's !vote. If there is a closer, it may affect the close as well.
Don't pick the low-hanging fruit. If you have no good counter for some of the points, acknowledge that in your reply. Or, don't reply at all.
Finally, Jack should consider what it means that he can't counter A or B. Maybe he should change his position? We should work to keep an open mind in debates. It's not about winning, or proving how infallibly astute and intelligent we are, but reaching a resolution that is in the best interest of the project. —May 2016.
If you see it as your mission to protect article content from the POV overzealousness of conservatives who don't care about Wikipedia policy, you are as POV as they are. If you see it as your mission to protect article content from the POV overzealousness of liberals who don't care about Wikipedia policy, you are as POV as they are. If you see it as your mission to protect article content from anyone who doesn't care about Wikipedia policy, you are a good Wikipedia editor. —June 2016.