User:Roman Spinner

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My user name is also my name, Roman Spinner.

This user name made its first Wikipedia appearance on January 22, 2006 when I effected "Save page" for my initial edit. Editing and having a user name seemed only appropriate since I have been a more-or-less continuous user of this unique online knowledge repository since its inception in 2001.

Over seven months and some 700 edits later, belatedly realizing that the red link comprising my user name indicates a lack of completeness in my use of this resource, I decided to integrate fully into the blue links of Wikipedia, with this page coming into being on September 1, 2006 for that specific purpose and for the sake of its own existence, that anyone who cares may be able to glance at it. Perhaps at some future date there may be more information here, including elaborate graphics, similar to those which adorn the user pages of other Wikipedians, but as more years pass, the early contents of this page continue to remain sufficient for the day...



On August 1, 2007, eleven months after the preceding edit, a few minor additions—a couple of categories and a single userbox—additional details at some other time, possibly...

Another month later, on September 1, 2007, the first anniversary of the creation of this user page, I am appending interwiki links to additional components of Wikipedia where I have been editing, including a user page on MetaWiki, created December 2, 2006.


Four months after the September 1 edit, on January 1, 2008, I am appending another element, a link to my entry on IMDb and, following addition of counter/clock the following month, on February 2, no edits until this page's third anniversary on September 1, 2009, when a few text revisions and updates are made, including delinking of dates and expansion of the interwiki links list.


On the sixth anniversary, January 22, 2012, of my first edit, one more userbox, which, appropriately, specifies my time with Wikipedia and states, "Today is this user's WikiBirthday". I am also taking the opportunity to update and expand my interwiki list.


On January 22, 2013, as the userbox, mentioned directly above, notes its first anniversary along with my seventh "WikiBirthday", I am marking the occasion by indicating, for the first time, three Wiki userboxes which are frequently found on user pages of longtime editors. Since my "preferences" shows that I've made over 13,100 edits, Veteran Editor II is appropriate and, furthermore, since I had been notified, on June 19, 2010, that I was being granted the "reviewer" user right, that, too, can thus be added. Finally, another notification, on January 29, 2011, informed me that, as of that date, I also have the "autopatrolled" permission, enabling me to add the third userbox.


With the passage of another year, my eighth "WikiBirthday" arrives. From the "over 13,100 edits" mentioned in the paragraph above, the number has risen, on January 22, 2014, to over 16,400, authorizing me to replace Veteran Editor II with Veteran Editor III. Staying on the subject of longtime users and editors, as well as subjects of interest to those among them/us who are statististically-minded, another box [being appended today] provides a certain perspective on the ratio of occasional, intermittent and former users [as well as administrators] to continuous users.


Today, on my ninth WikiBirthday, January 22, 2015, a background aspect of the past comes forth to be commemorated. As a native of the Ukrainian-Polish region of Galicja [born and raised in its capital, Lviv, known as Lvov to its Russian-speaking inhabitants, as Lwów to its Polish-speakers as well as during the brief modern period when it was a part of Poland in the interwar years of 1919–1939 when my parents came to adulthood and, further back, when they born there, before the start of World War I in August 1914, during the final years of the city's 146-year (1772–1918) era within the Austro-Hungarian Empire and, during the German occupation of 1941–44, when it was known as Lemberg], I am adding myself to Category:Polish Wikipedians and to Category:Ukrainian Wikipedians.

WikiWednesday September 2015 14.jpg
A photo of me at a September 2015 New York Wikipedia gathering (I'm on the left, leaning forward while caught in the moment of signing into the yellow notebook of attendance — meetings in subsequent years have tended to simple self-introductions, without attendance sheets).


Autobiographical notes[edit]

On January 22, 2016, after a decade of editing on a nearly-daily schedule, I am arriving at my 10th WikiBirthday. Considering that (after 2008) I have been editing my user page only once a year, today is a time for reflection and remembrance, starting with my parents, William George Spinner (August 30, 1912 — April 10, 1994) and Mary Spinner (May 11, 1914 — November 22, 1998), born in Lemberg as Jerzy Wilhelm [YEH-zhih VEEL'hel'm] Spinner and Maria [MAHR-yah] Dżułyk [DZHOO-lik]. By the time of my birth, the city, pre-World War II Poland's third-largest and a major cultural center known by its Polish name, Lwów [L'VOOF], had been incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and officially renamed Lviv [L'VEEW], the name by which it was known to its large Ukrainian population. The great majority of its Polish residents were expelled/resettled to populate the longtime German (and Medieval Polish) city of Wrocław [VROHTZ-lahv] (German name Breslau), which lost its German population to expulsion/resettlement into East and West Germany. A strong early memory from my childhood is the ceremonial imposition of national grief which followed the announcement of Stalin's death in March 1953.

The immigration to America with my parents was on the ocean liner MS Batory which left the Polish Baltic port city of Gdynia on March 31, 1961 and arrived in Montreal on April 11. The automobile ride to the US border crossing at New York town of Champlain was the following day which, as I later discovered, was the 100th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Having no knowledge of English, I learned the language by continuous watching of television and verbal repetition of dialogue which I was, initially, unable to understand. One of the earliest series, in April 1961, which imprinted itself upon my memory was The Americans, about two brothers fighting on opposite sides in the Civil War which, at the time, I understood to be one of the many westerns populating each day's schedule on the TV networks. I only saw five or six episodes before the series was canceled, but it left a lasting impression.

Twelve years later, I worked as a member of the technical crew in daytime TV and even received an Emmy statuette (accounting for my IMDb listing, below). It was a group award for the 1978–79 season, with each member of the crew working on the mystery/legal daytime drama [most frequently referenced as "soap opera"] The Edge of Night receiving his or her individual statuette. I was the show's teleprompter operator for the previous six years and Edge's longtime producer, Erwin "Nick" Nicholson, added my name to the crew list, a practice which was not followed by any other program. Teleprompter operators and cue card holders are ineligible to compete for Emmy Awards in these job categories, thus effectively making me the sole such winner in Emmy history.

Wikipedia updates[edit]

Taking the opportunity of this annual WikiBirthday user page editing [not a hard and fast rule — if circumstances warrant or spirit moves — this page may be edited at other times], I am adding one more userbox: {User article count ranking|148} (count as of today) and updating the Service Awards mentioned in 2013 and 2014. Since my "preferences" indicator shows that the number of edits I made, most recently mentioned in 2014 as being at the Veteran Editor III level of over 16,400, has risen to over 23,500, the III can now be replaced with IV, Veteran Editor IV. Finally, having become eligible for the {{User Ten Year Society}} userbox, that too can now be added.


Additional autobiographical notes[edit]

Today, January 22, 2017, is my 11th WikiBirthday, the 11th anniversary of my first Wiki-edit and another annual opportunity to edit my user page. Taking a leaf from my previous two WikiAnniversaries, it is also time for another dip into the memory pool.

Two days ago, at the presidential inauguration, the marching band from my alma mater, Talladega College, was described, in a positive fashion, by one television commentator, as the loudest of all the bands which participated in this world event. Talladega College happens to be not only the college from which I graduated, but also the place where my parents and I lived, with brief interruptions, for ten years, from September 1, 1962 to September 1, 1972.

The organization which sponsored my parents' (and mine) April 1961 arrival in the United States, American Council for Emigres in the Professions, provided us with a house in the New York City suburb of Long Branch, a small city on the Atlantic beachfront of New Jersey. They then proceeded to furnish my father (who had a teaching degree and a law degree, both obtained during the final five years of pre-World War II Poland) with a series of clerical jobs, while continuing to send him on any available teaching interviews in New York City.
One such interview, in July 1962, with Talladega College president Arthur Gray, resulted in my father receiving an offer from Reverend Gray to teach French and Russian languages at the college, which has a large campus on the outskirts of the small city of Talladega, the seat of Alabama's Talladega County.

Talladega College, Alabama's oldest private historically black college, founded in 1867, had a 1962 student body of about 300 and a faculty which was about 25% African American. Most of the faculty members lived on the campus in homes which they bought or rented. My parents and I were assigned a very large apartment which occupied the entire top floor of the college's three-story music department building, Andrews Hall.
From September 1962 to May 1964, I attended Sessions School, a one-room schoolhouse on the campus, about 150 feet behind Andrews Hall. The school had a single instructor, Miss Stevenson in 1962–63 and Mrs. Young in 1963–64, teaching a student body of 15, classes 5 through 8, in the same classroom at the same time. Summer vacations lasted three-and-a-half months, from the last days of May to the first days after Labor Day and, to escape the 100-degree Alabama summers, we returned during each such long break to the familiar oceanside beach of Long Branch, where we rented an apartment and a TV set for three months.

Further Wikipedia updates[edit]

As mentioned a year ago, the newly-added userbox, {User article count ranking|148}, indicated my ranking on the Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by article count, which enumerates the top 10,000 article creators (as of today, #1 is User:RjwilmsiBot [total 195,450; 195,216 redirects and 234 non-redirects] and #2 is User:Carlossuarez46 with a total of 172,128, including 90,806 redirects; the non-redirects total of 81,322 is a complete opposite to RjwilmsiBot's 234). 366 days later, it has risen to {User article count ranking|135}.
It should be noted, however, that although my ranking total, as of today, is 8,950, thus placing me as 135th Wikipedian in article creation, 8,649 of those are redirects and only 301 are articles, thus placing me 81st in redirect creation and 809th in article creation.
Also, mention may be made of the "bottom" numbers relating to this list's "top" 10,000. Those with a total number of created articles ranging from 128 to 140 occupy 680 places, from #9320 to #10,000. The bottom number, 128, is occupied by 18 Wikipedians, from #9983 to #10,000. Their creative output ranges from 122 articles and 6 redirects to 5 articles and 123 redirects.

Another change is the number of my total edits, mentioned on my 10th WikiBirthday as rising from 2014's 16,400 (Veteran Editor III — 16,000 edits and 3 years of service) to over 23,500 (Veteran Editor IV — 20,000 edits and 3.5 years of service). Today, on this 11th WikiBirthday, "my preferences" indicates a total of over 27,100 (27,120, to be exact), thus finally making it possible to leave the "Veteran Editor" level (8000 edits and 2 years of service — 20000 edits and 3.5 years of service) and proceed to the Senior Editor level (24000 edits and 4 years of service — 33000 edits and 5 years of service). Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by article count lists me, as of today, at #2668 among all Wikipedians, active and inactive. Since about half of the top 10000 Wikipedians are inactive, a rough estimate places me between #1330 and #1340 among active Wikipedians.

It should be noted that among the nearly 30 million (29,996,911, as of today) who registered over the past 16 years, only 343 joined the ten-year society (there is a small number of active Wikipedians, including, obviously, User:Jimbo Wales, who began editing in Wikipedia's first year, thus making them eligible for the 15-Year Society, if such is formed). MoMA 2017-06a jeh.jpg
A photo of me at the Museum of Modern Art Wikipedia:Meetup/NYC/Wiki Loves Pride 2017. It may be again noted that among the nearly 33 million (32,733,099, as of today) who registered over the past 17 years, only 532 joined the ten-year society, up from last year's 343.


Yet more autobiographical notes[edit]

A dozen years have passed since my first edit on January 22, 2006. On this 12th WikiBirthday, I feel the need to reach even further back, before my birth, to describe my Jewish father's survival of the Holocaust, by posing as my Roman Catholic mother's late half-brother Volodya [Vohl-OH-dyah] who was Ukrainian Orthodox.

Volodya was born in 1904 and died of viral pneumonia in January 1936, at the age of 31. He was firstborn of the four children my Roman Catholic grandmother had with her first husband, Volodymyr Yanczak [Vohl-oh-dih-MIHR YAHN-chuck], a newspaper journalist, who was Ukrainian Orthodox and died in 1912. In 1913, my grandmother married her second husband Dymitr Dżułyk [DIH-meetr DZHOO-lik] who was Greek Catholic and worked as a notarial attorney. They also had four children, of whom my mother, born in 1914, was the first.

In 1919, as the advancing Red Army threatened Lwów Voivodeship, the family boarded a refugee train and spent a year traveling, at one point as far as Turkey. One of my mother's earliest memories was stopping at a city, she was told was named Pardubice, where Volodya was examined, diagnosed with typhoid, and put into the care of a Polish-Ukrainian family that decided to remain in Pardubice. A year later, following the 1920 defeat of the Red Army, known for the past century as Cud nad Wisłą (Tzood nahd VEES-loh [Miracle at Vistula]), the family returned home to Lemberg, which became referenced by its Polish name, Lwów.

Nearly a decade passed before Volodya, who was apprenticed to a photographer in Czechoslovakia, found his family and returned to Poland in 1928. My mother remembered him as a very talented photo retoucher and painter, and a very kindly, self-sacrificing, almost saintly person, who would give up anything he had for the benefit of others.

My father, whose family also had a multi-generational connection to Lwów, possessed a teacher's certificate and worked as an instructor of French and Russian, while studying for a law degree, finally received his diploma from Lwów University in July 1937. He did not have the funds to set up his own law practice and found intermittent assignments as a part-time law clerk for various law firms.

On his 27th birthday, August 30, 1939, two days before the September 1 German Invasion of Poland, my father visited his mother at her home in the village of Stobierna, Rzeszów County, which was then part of Lwów Voivodeship. Upon leaving, on August 31, he jokingly said, "I guess this is this the last time we'll be seeing each other". His mother replied, "Don't say that, it's bad luck". As it turned out, he never saw her, nor any other members of his family, again.

In November 1939, two months after the September 17 Soviet invasion of Poland, my parents met when they were assigned by the Soviet authorities as supervisors and teachers at an orphanage in Lwów, referenced at that point by its Russian name, Lvov [L'VOV] and its Ukrainian name, Lviv [L'VEEV].

In interwar Poland, marriages between individuals of different religions were rare, but the Soviet authorities had no interest in such matters and my parents, as they grew to know each other, decided to marry in May 1940. A year later, on June 22, 1941, upon German invasion of Soviet Union, all of Poland came under German occupation and round-ups of Jews had started. My mother's parents, who lived just outside of Lviv, in the village of Zymna Voda, gave Volodya's internal passport to my father and he assumed the identity of Volodymyr Yanchak.

For my mother, one unforgettable incident occurred during a 1943 round-up on a Lviv street, when a Ukrainian police officer, working for the Germans, examined my father's internal passport, looked at him for a moment, and then said, "You were born in 1904? You look rather young for someone who's nearly forty." My father replied, "Thank you, I'm often told that". The policeman, however, continued, "Yes, very young, in fact, a little too young. Come with me to the police station." My mother said that, at that point, she started silently praying and, a few seconds later, they saw people running in the street and another Ukrainian policeman chasing after them, telling the policeman who was talking to father, "Come on, they're running away, help me catch them". The policeman replied, "I'm busy here", but the other one insisted and made it sound like an order. The first policeman returned my father's passport and said, "Stay here. I'll be right back." My parents, of course, ran away as soon as the policeman was out of view.

In May 1945, as the war ended in Europe, my father turned out to have been the sole survivor out of his entire large family.

Still further Wikipedia updates[edit]

In 2016, I mentioned the newly-added userbox, {User article count ranking|148}, indicated my ranking on the Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by article count, which enumerates the top 10,000 article creators (as of today, #1 is User:RjwilmsiBot [total 195,087; 194,839 redirects and 248 non-redirects] and #2 is User:Carlossuarez46 with a total of 172,119, including 90,807 redirects; the non-redirects total of 81,312 is a complete opposite to RjwilmsiBot's 234). In 2017, it had risen to {User article count ranking|135} but, later that year, the list had become inactive, with my most recent count frozen at {User article count ranking|124}.

Another change is the number of my total edits, mentioned on my 11th WikiBirthday as rising from over 23,500 (Veteran Editor IV — 20,000 edits and 3.5 years of service) to over 27,100 (Senior Editor — 24,000 edits and 4 years of service). Today, on this 12th WikiBirthday, "my preferences" indicates a total of over 30,500 (30,530, to be exact), thus enabling me to move from the "Senior Editor" level to the Senior Editor II level (28,500 edits and 4.5 years of service). Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by article count lists me, as of today, at #2511 among all Wikipedians, active and inactive. At that point, it actually requires very little effort to determine one's standing solely among active Wikipedians which, in my case turns out to be 1749.

I had previously commented at regarding creation of a list containing only active users, but the additional time and endeavor required for such a task could not be found. The numbers I mentioned on January 22, 2017, above, "[S]ince about half of the top 10000 Wikipedians are inactive, a rough estimate places me between #1330 and #1340 among active Wikipedians" were, obviously, well off the mark. The level of inactivity increases after #2500 and, to an even greater degree, after #5000.


Still further autobiographical notes[edit]

One more year has passed since my first edit on January 22, 2006. On this 13th WikiBirthday and on the eve of my 70th birthday (born February 1949), I'll start with my earliest days. I have always given my parents' city of birth, Lemberg, officially known since 1945 by its Ukrainian name, Lviv, as my birthplace. However, I was actually born in the small city of Kamianka-Buzka in Lviv Oblast (40 kilometers / 25 miles) from Lviv. In September 1944, as the German Army retreated from what was still officially the Polish city of Lwów, life slowly began returning to a semblance of normality.

By the time of German surrender in May 1945, Polish Galicia (Eastern Europe), with its capital Lwów, had been incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Ukrainian Soviet authorities conducted a survey of the local population and, upon learning that my father had a law degree from Lwów University and, in addition to speaking Polish and German, had native-level knowledge of spoken and written Ukrainian and Russian, they assigned him to serve as the city attorney in the small city of Rava-Ruska, several kilometers from Lviv (my father did not feel at the time that it would be appropriate to mention that he also had near-native knowledge of French, Hebrew and Yiddish).

My father had never previously practiced law, despite having received his degree in 1937. Having no funds to open his own practice, he had worked, between 1937 and the German and Soviet invasions in September 1939, as a part-time law clerk, legal assistant and language teacher. By July 1945, however, he was finally in court, arguing non-political cases of small-time crimes. One story he had told years later was of meeting a gray-haired woman in 1956 who asked him if he remembered her. He couldn't and she reminded him that, in 1948, he had defended her for the crime of picking up wheat particles scattered in the roadway, which she would take home to make bread for her children. She was arrested for theft of collective farm property and, even though the wheat seedlings were basically road refuse, she was facing twenty years in Siberia. My father pleaded before the local tribunal that she be shown mercy, but the best that could be done was to reduce her sentence to ten years. She was about thirty years old at the time and, by the time she was released as part of the slight thaw regarding arrests in years following Stalin's death in 1953, her hair had turned completely gray.

Yet more Wikipedia updates[edit]

Another change is the number of my total edits, mentioned on my 12th WikiBirthday as having risen from over 27,100 (Senior Editor — 24,000 edits and 4 years of service) to 30,530 (Senior Editor II — 28,500 edits and 4.5 years of service). Today, on this 13th WikiBirthday, "my preferences" indicates a total of 34,181, thus enabling me to move from the "Senior Editor II" level to the Senior Editor III level (33,000 edits and 5 years of service). Wikipedia:List of Wikipedians by article count lists me, as of today, at #2356 among all Wikipedians, active and inactive. At that point, it actually requires even less effort than last year to determine one's standing solely among active Wikipedians which, in my case now turns out to be 1653 (from last year's 1749).


Briefly noted[edit]

Twenty-two days into a new decade, the 2020s, on my 14th WikiBirthday, January 22, 2020.


Another WikiBirthday has arrived, my 15th. I made my first edit on January 22, 2006, one week past Wikipedia's 5th birthday and today, January 22, 2021, in the midst of a pandemic that has been continuing since March 2020, is one week past Wikipedia's 20th birthday. Since I edit my user page only once a year, this is the day to take note of milestones, such as eligibility to join Wikipedia:Fifteen Year Society. Throughout these fifteen years, I have been editing on a near-daily basis and two years ago, on my 13th WikiBirthday, had 34,181 edits, enabling a move to Senior Editor III (33,000 edits and 5 years of service — 42,000 edits and 6 years of service). Today, "my preferences" indicates a total of 41,342 edits, still at Senior Editor III for the third WikiBirthday (all of my edits have been manual).

The last time I edited my user page on a day other than my WikiBirthday was on September 1, 2009. However, today I am commemorating the 60th anniversary of my arrival in the United States from Poland on April 12, 1961. I was two months past my 12th birthday when the MS Batory docked in Montreal on April 11 and, the following day, I, along with my parents and another Polish family named Mondszajn (upon becoming citizens they changed their surname to Mondesky) was sitting in a Chevrolet Thunderbird driven by Miki Berger, my father's childhood friend from the orphanage, as we crossed the border at Champlain, New York and settled, at the end of the day in the seaside community of Long Branch, New Jersey.

External links[edit]