"But the biggest worry is that the great benefit of the open-source approach is also its great undoing. Its advantage is that anyone can contribute; the drawback is that sometimes just about anyone does. This leaves projects open to abuse, either by well-meaning dilettantes or intentional disrupters. Constant self-policing is required to ensure its quality."
-- The Economist, 3/18/2006
Hello! I'm a fifty-something paralegal living in western Massachusetts, formerly editing under my real name, which probably ought not be splashed all over the Web as much as it was. My Wikiactivity centers around hockey -- I'm a longtime statistician and sometime SIHR member, hockey journalist and sportscaster -- but I'm interested in everything from military history to politics to roleplaying games (and no, not in the console games that marketing departments insist on calling "RPGs").
And, to quote myself from a discussion here: "We're not out to write a mediocre encyclopedia here. This is a resource the whole world employs, and it is not merely our duty, but our privilege to get it right ... We should all be "elitists" on Wikipedia, and we should be proud to use the appellation."
Hockey is a marvellous game.
There's a great joy in playing it ...
An enormous thrill in watching it ...
May those of us who love it
Bear witness to fifty more years of it.
- the closing lines of Brian McFarlane's 50 Years Of Hockey, 1969
The usual cavalcade of userboxes
Yeah, I've a few.
|The Running Man Barnstar|
|For your tireless contributions to the Hockey WikiProject, please accept this barnstar. BoojiBoy 20:49, 4 August 2006 (UTC)|
|The Defender of the Wiki Barnstar|
|For your commentary on the Barbara Schwarz AfD in first half of March 2007, explaining the concept of WP:OR and WP:RS Dennisthe2 21:57, 12 March 2007 (UTC)|
|The Random Acts of Kindness Barnstar|
|I am so sorry, and I want you to have this as an apologetic gift. JONJONBT talk•homemade userboxes 18:01, 26 July 2007 (UTC)|
|The Tireless Contributor Barnstar|
|I'm constantly stumbling across your edits, and they are, without fail, shrewd, constructive, and sorely needed. On behalf the internet users of the world, thanks for all your hard work! Fullobeans (talk) 18:56, 11 July 2008 (UTC)|
|The Special Barnstar|
|Thank you for everything you've done for me and for the WikiProject! Taste the rainbow! Vyrida 10:56, 15 February 2009 (UTC)|
|The Barnstar of Diligence|
|Re your efforts in resolving the issues relating to Vassallo5448's contributions. LessHeard vanU (talk) 13:40, 21 November 2009 (UTC)|
|Your majesty, it gives me great pleasure to bestow these Imperial triple crown jewels upon you, Ravenswing, for your contributions in the areas of WP:DYK, WP:GA, and WP:FC.||Cirt (talk) 05:15, 14 December 2008 (UTC).|
|The Civility Barnstar|
|For your rational demeanor during the ongoing diacritics struggle and at WP:HOCKEY in general. Cjmclark (Contact) 14:03, 26 January 2012 (UTC)|
|The Hockey Barnstar|
|For all your fine hockey work over the years ... you’re part of the original Hockey Barnstar class! --Mo Rock...Monstrous (leech44) 22:14, 9 March 2012 (UTC)|
|The Frozen Trout of Seafood Justice|
|JUSTICE! Keep up the good sense of humour. - The Bushranger One ping only 21:49, 9 April 2012 (UTC)|
|The Barnstar of Good Humor|
|I award you this barnstar for making me laugh with your funny comment on WP:ANI here: () Soviet King In Soviet Russia, page edit you! 10:21, 11 April 2012 (UTC)|
|The Purple Heart Barnstar|
|Surprised to find out I'd been vandalized enough to merit one! Ravenswing 08:20, 6 November 2014 (UTC)|
|The Original Barnstar|
|For your consistent and excellent work at AfD with regards to NHOCKEY. ♠PMC♠ (talk) 13:22, 11 October 2017 (UTC)|
My Rant of the Month: The Wit and Wisdom of WP:CRYSTAL (10/17)
An occasional column for rants of mine that I wanted to memorialize. For past rants, see my Rant Archive.
Sometimes, over on biographical AfDs, people (especially fans of the subjects or the article creators in question) advocate keeping the articles because surely the player in question is a future star ... about to be a high draft choice, sure to gain preeminent honors in their amateur/collegiate/junior/minor leagues, a can't miss prospect. This is, of course, where WP:CRYSTAL comes into play, and almost always carries the day. Still, they're not always convinced. Indeed, they seldom are, and some of the most bitter and contentious AfDs I've ever seen have involved this principle.
Something I like to hang onto, and glance at every rare once in a while, are links to some of these AfDs where people maintain fervently (and sometimes hotly and bitterly) about what a great star their subjects are destined to be ... and where time has continued to tell that not only had no one ever heard of them before, no one's heard of them since. Ravenswing 15:12, 2 October 2017 (UTC)
- I am not particularly interested in "putting myself over" Who really gives a damn how many contributions I've made, what articles I've started (somewhere over a hundred, for what it's worth), what credentials I have with which to beat you over the head that I am so much cooler than you, or anything other than whether I know about what I'm talking? I'm proud of my work here, and tickled by seeing it recognized, but I'll never post a puffed up list of the articles I've helped bring to FA/GA status (a small heap, so far) or listing my DYKs (eight, so far). I'm more into improving stubs than creating new articles. What Wikipedia needs more than sheer page count is improved quality of articles. Many editors seeking an easy slur (sound, reasoned arguments are, after all, hard work) call this "deletionist."
- I am extremely particular about grammar, spelling and the non-use of diacriticals. I see no reason why time-honored grammar usages are invalidated just because today's typists are lazy sods, and if you have a burning desire to put umlauts and diacriticals over proper names, go over to the foreign language Wikipedias where such usages are proper -- this is the English Wikipedia, last I checked. (And don't bullshit us; they don't use diacriticals on non-North American en-language websites any more than in Canada and the US.)
- I care strongly about documentation. If you assert it, you should be prepared to back it up, with a non-Wikipedia verifiable source. If you can't, you should retract it.
- That being said, computer verification isn't the be-all and end-all of everything. An AfD was filed sometime ago against an author who had jack for Amazon.com sales ranking and not many Google hits. No kidding, folks, he wrote several popular books in the Seventies and early Eighties, pretty much nothing since, and his stuff's gone out of print. Any number of prominent Victorian authors have Amazon rankings which aren't anything about which to write their descendants.
- Subjects that should be prima facie grounds for CSD: dorm buildings, bands or wannabe auteurs with Myspace pages for lead Google hits, game/fan/mediacruft that received less than ten minutes of screentime or ten pages of action, MMORPG gaming guilds, elementary schools, any portmanteau "X in popular culture" list ... gods, I could go on for a bit.
- Articles that should be blocked from CSD: Articles within six hours of their creation, unless they're blatant vandalism, hoaxes or attack pages. It drives me nuts to see articles CSDed or AfDed four minutes after their creation, and from watching Special:Newpages, many articles are CSDed seconds after creation. Folks, Wikipedia doesn't give prizes for the first ones to file a CSD. What is your freaking hurry? (Alright, now I realize that this is a hallmark of people shilling for admin. You're getting a firm Oppose from me.) Can we give these people some chance to improve their articles?
- People who pick over this user page for ammunition to use in AfDs and other discussions: If you think this means you, you may well be right. Needing to find some dirt to fling because you can't win on the merits of the argument is a sure sign that a collaborative encyclopedia is not the environment for you. Maybe Fox News is hiring.
- There should be a guideline with equal force to WP:BITE - that in their own turn, newcomers have a duty to act respectfully, courteously and with maturity, to make an effort to acquaint themselves with Wikipedia policies and guidelines, and to assume good faith on the part of existing editors who seek to apply them.
- "!vote" is politically correct weasel-wording - Yeah, yeah, I know we're not supposed to be "voting" on things, although no one's told the RfA process, and the screams of rage when admins at XfD make policy-over-consensus determinations are palpable. That being said, let's get a grip. The dreaded letters V-O-T-E don't vanish by virtue of putting extra punctuation in front of them, and doing so reminds me strongly of my wife's first bunny ducking her head underneath a towel and pretending no one could see her. Plainly we need a word that means "registering one's opinion in such a fashion that (usually) comes down on one side of an issue or another." "Vote" is a recognizable candidate for such a word. Chill, folks.
- WP:AGF is not a suicide pact, and it does not require us to pull a Sgt. Schultz and bleat out "I know nuttink!" at every sign of bad faith behavior. If someone habitually resorts to blatant personal attacks, he is a troll. Calling him one is not a failure to AGF: it is pointing out the obvious fact of the perp's bad faith. It's maddening how often the aggressor gets off scot-free in the ensuing chaos, because blame-the-victim is SOP. Then again I'm not shilling for adminship, and I've no particular stake in sitting on my butt while trolls, sockpuppets, meatpuppets and crapmongers spill their spew all over the Web.
- "Sports bore me to death. I've only watched 2 sports contests in my entire 45 years although I've unwillingly attended dozens. I have no interest in any sport league, minor major junior senior whatever. Nonetheless, Wikipedia isn't written to please me. It's an encyclopedia that aims to have a great breadth and depth of knowledge from all over the world. If there's room for Ollie, Iowa, a town of 240 people, I think there's room for this article and also for the other teams in all the junior leagues in Canada. Interlingua" Written in an AfD from 2006, my response was that the aphorism I've bolded ought to be chiseled in granite. Indeed, it's not written to please me, nor to please you.
- It's not that I don't understand what you're saying. It's that I disagree with what you're saying. This (or a variation thereof) has been a .sig of mine on any VBulletin-style forum for the better part of twenty years. A few too many people think that if they just keep battering away, post after post, rebuttal after rebuttal, surely Everyone Will Understand.
- Ravenswing's Law: Several years ago, I opined that if I ever named a law on Wikipedia, this would be it: "The vehemence with which a group believes that their impact on the world is worthy of memorializing is in inverse proportion to the sum of its size and genuine notoriety."
- Finally, I care about research. This is an encyclopedia, and not only do we have an obligation to know about what we're talking, we have no right to vote or make edits in willful ignorance -- if you insist on being ignorant, go hang out in a blog instead. It drives me nuts to see AfDs filed on articles where the nom could -- and should -- have taken five minutes to follow up a few Google hits and realized the genuine notability of the subject. It drives me just as nuts to see "seems notable," "seems non-notable," "looks good" and their ilk as reasons to support or reject deletion. Translation = you don't really have a clue. You're really just guessing off of a five second glance at the article, swallowing any presumption whole and racking up a quick meaningless edit on AfD. News flash; no one will give a damn five years from now about your edit count. We are supposed to be building an encyclopedia here, not playing some geeky MMORPG and competing for Game High Score.