I'm interested in politics and history, and have degrees in each subject. I think that society as a whole can be better informed and make better decisions if it has easy access to neutral, well-sourced, and informative accounts of major political and historical topics. I think I've made some solid contributions in that regard. Even if I don't "help make the world a better place" through Wikipedia editing, I figure that my edits will at least help some internet arguments take place at a slightly higher level of information.
My primary goal is to add material that is reasonably well-written and is cited to academic sources, or (for newer subjects) solid news sources. I also think that it's important to write leads that comprehensively cover the subject, since many or most readers won't advance far past the lead. I'm happy to help with other worthy goals (getting articles to Featured/Good status, uploading images, conforming to the Manual of Style, undoing vandalism, resolving disputes, etc.) but they aren't my primary focus.
Pet peeve: Aside from the obvious issues, like people who are just "POV pushing" and people who "take ownership" of an article, I have a pet peeve that I haven't seen others complain about. I hate the following type of sentence, especially if it's in a lead and not about something particularly important: "On January 1, 2016, it was announced that on January 2, 2016, xperson will do yactivity." First of all, this information is already outdated. Secondly, it doesn't usually matter when an announcement is, and the exact date of the announcement will very rarely matter. Finally, there's no reason not to say who made the announcement. Granted this is a small thing, but I've seen it in a ton of articles.
Another pet peeve: The word "federal" is not capitalized, except as part of a proper noun
A third pet peeve: Drive-by-editors who add things but don't actually engage with sources. Wikipedia articles don't exist to reflect your opinions; unless you're a reliable source, your opinion doesn't matter. If you add something, use a reliable source. Even better, use a reliable source that is appropriate to the level-of-detail appropriate to the article. It's also very hard to know whether something should be removed unless you have actually engaged with sources, which help indicate whether or not things are relevant.
Idea: in the long run, I think it would be great if we had a sort of concise version of each article, or at least the most important ones. For example, I think it's great that there's a 15000 word article on Abraham Lincoln that's freely available to the public, but I also think it would be nice if there were a 3000 word article available for those who don't have the time/concentration to read a 15000 word article but are interested in a more detailed look than that provided by the lead.
An essay I generally agree with that points out many of the challenges facing Wikipedia: User:Dr. Blofeld/Encyclopedia problems. I particularly agree with the author's argument that there are many poorly-sourced articles that, unfortunately, pretty much need to be rewritten from scratch.
Articles worked on
- This monstrosity
- Sports in Philadelphia
- Historical U.S. election articles (e.g. United States elections, 1900)
- Several recent U.S. election articles (e.g. 2018 House elections)
- Articles on Supreme Court history (e.g. Taft Court)
- Every U.S. presidency article
- Most presidential bio articles
- Other random historical bios, like Henry Clay
- Other random historical articles, like Federalist Era
- Several leads
- Probably other stuff