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Hello, fellow Wikipedians!

My introduction to Wikipedia[edit]

I loved this site the minute I found it in a Google search. In fact, I just now caught myself looking for the edit tab when reading a normal web page that needed a little tweak, so I think I have a problem already! And the mouseovers on these wikilinks, especially when renamed, remind me of Mr. Subliminal.

My interests[edit]

But seriously, my interests are engineering, especially human factors and usability, cognitive science, jazz, epistemology ...For Dummies, pop science, nonfiction, especially science books, technical writing and mental models, collaboration as in Wikipedia and participatory design, consumer protection, and bicycling.

My Wikipedia MO[edit]

Here's my entry in the Wikipedia:new user log from August 2004. Since then my editing style (MO) has been mainly working on links - adding both internal and external ones (usually one of the first few on the first page of Google hits), and fixing broken ones - I HATE linkrot.

Recently in early 2005 I have noticed that, just as it often happens with the problem of keeping track of anything, there are often articles that are not linked to similar ones and it can lead to much repetition of similar articles under similar names, so lately I have been liberally adding internal hyperlinks to connect articles in order to build the web. BTW, what is the common term for these links? Free links? Wikilinks? Wiki-links? None of them has an article that I can find. This concept is similar to the need for a common glossary in technical writing, so that consistent names are used for the same thing. OK, on 6/3/2005 I found freelink and wikilink in Wikipedia:Glossary. That's better. So I created redirects to the Wikipedia glossary for freelink, Wiki-link, and wikilink. However, these don't appear to be working correctly, so wikilink is the easiest to use since it redirects to wikitext, which is its own article and therefore isn't dependent on the dubious practice of linking to article internal headings.

I also create stubs when I am struck with a thought. My watchlist has been growing and growing, since I leave my breadcrumb trail by using the default of watching edited pages. The watchlist is then watched for vandalism, spelling, typos, or anything strange. I am a fan of properly filling in edit summaries, and in pursuit of guidelines for them I just found this: Edit summary legend.

Some gushing![edit]

I am very excited about Wikipedia, which in IMO is nearly as groundbreaking as the web itself as the embodiment of the ideals of Vannevar Bush, Ted Nelson, and Tim Berners-Lee on making accumulated human knowledge so accessible that the mechanics of retrieving it doesn't get in the way of thinking, or in other words, it has flow. In February 2005 I joined the m:Association of Inclusionist Wikipedians after thinking that one of my long articles had been deleted! (this one) And in August 2005, I discovered and joined the Wikipedia:Harmonious editing club.

An old toy[edit]

Dillo - I discovered that wonderful piece of software years ago when commissioning my first Linux toy, an old PC brought back to life for web surfing. An old Cyrix 686 processor (first with 32 MB, now 160 MB of EDO memory) can now surf like lightning, thanks to Red Hat Linux plus two pieces of minimalist software - the Blackbox window manager, and Dillo. (Although lately since adding that memory it works just fine with the very nice Gnome desktop). I was especially impressed with performance on Wikipedia compared to some other computers I have used. While Dillo only does sites with simple html, no Java programming language or https, and is hit or miss with javascript, it seems to have no problem with php. A nice feature is built in html syntax checking - almost all web sites have some errors.

Nomination for Patron Saint of Wikipedia[edit]

It just has to be Cliff Clavin! Dontcha think?

My CSS experiments and my small customization of my Wikipedia view[edit]

I sometimes have lost edits because I forgot to do the final save after successive Previews. I think the problem was partially banner blindness, but mostly that the "NOTE: This is only a preview and has not yet been saved" message was too small and blended in with the article text. So with the help of some good Wikipedians on the Village Pump Assistance page, I was able to make the notice big (and also blinking on Firefox, IE doesn't support blink). Now if I miss it, shame on me. Here's the line in my monobook.css, along with the development ones that didn't quite work. Note: I had to revise it for changes in MediaWiki 1.5 in June 2005. But I noticed in Feb. 2007 that it doesn't work any more.


I like the idea of the following WikiProjects.

    1. I think WikiProject Red Link Recovery is a good cause and Wikiproject, because I have often found red links that are very easily fixed, usually because there is already an article with a slightly different capitalization, plural, or some similar small difference. I know that Wikipedia usually has an article (at least a stub) for almost any possible fairly common subject, word, or phrase, so very often I find wonderful articles that are just a small correction away from a red link in any given article, and I want to do as much as possible to prevent myself and others from wasting time and effort trying to reinvent the wheel. Here's a paste from the project site for easy reference: In order to help people find this project, consider using an edit summary like the following********link repair ([[Wikipedia:WikiProject Red Link Recovery|You can help!]])*********
    2. Wikipedia:WikiProject Usability is another one I recently joined.
    3. There is also Wikipedia:WikiProject Categories that I hope to explore.

Use of Javascript in the monobook.js page[edit]

I copied and pasted this suggestion from User:ABCD on Wikipedia_talk:Edit summary#Forcing summaries to force an edit summary to prevent inadvertently leaving it blank, since I usually intend to fill it in with descriptive text as a courtesy to others that are watching it. I tried it both as something nice to have and to get experience in Wikipedia Javascript customizing via the User:Spalding/monobook.js page.

The biggest problem in getting this to work was getting the browser cache refreshed. For Firefox, control-reload didn't seem to do it, it took control-shift-R. And it seems to wear out and need to be redone fairly often. There is obviously still a detail of this browser cache stuff that I still don't understand.

Useful links that I keep here for reference and as aids for editing[edit]


  • Example of an article with references Traffic_light_rating_system
  • Example of articles using the "about" template - Good Night, Nurse! and Goodnight Nurse
    • I noticed on 11/30/2013 that this article now uses the notation (without spaces) { { About| this|that|that } } instead of the old "otheruses" template to give
      This page is about this. For that, see that.
      Time moves on!
  • Example of a simple citeweb tag for a reference:



Fairly obscure tips and tricks that are in the manual but I missed for too long[edit]

These are all documented somewhere in the Wikipedia:Project_namespace namespace, but I put them here for quick reference.

  1. Comments can be included right on an article page by enclosing them as shown: <!-- Comment --> . A good use of this is to warn to check the talk page first when there is a section that is contentious and has been the subject of edit wars. To see the example comment that is embedded in this section, go to page edit mode. Actually this is documented in the very basic Wikipedia:How to edit a page, so it is a good example of RTFM, but the Wikipedia manual ain't no Mac instruction manual!
  2. A pipe "|" symbol may be used to strip off the parenthetical part of a link and/or a prefix such as Wiktionary: or Wikipedia: or m:. An example is [[instruction manual (computer and video games)|]] used above to display instruction manual. Also useful for Wiktionary links - in that case it strips off the Wiktionary prefix.

Things to remember[edit]

Boiling frog syndrome, the slippery slope, and the the camel's nose! Along with procrastination, they are the root of a lot of evil. I guess they are somewhat all examples of habituation, in this case bad habits, addiction, or denial.

Wikipedia's niche[edit]

Comprehensiveness! There is an entry for just about anything! As I entered the above section on the Boiling frog syndrome, I found that just about any term I wikify already has an article, so a person's writing is sort of turbocharged, and uses positive feedback, what you and many others have done previously (or exhaust), to propel your current writing forward! However, so far as of August 2006, in the weeds still redirects to diner lingo. Looking for the origin of this phrase, surely it relates to driving, but neither Wikipedia nor Google (just a casual search) turns up the origin of it. These kinds of phrases are interesting to me - one of my favorites is "His oars aren't in the water". That just paints such a pretty and descriptive picture.

As just one example, I thought it was quite funny when I discovered that there is a Category:Fictional chickens. Then after watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, when I searched for "Groat's" I found it in List of fictional diseases. So now my newest toy is the Category Search, where searching just for "fictional" returns many pages of results. Then I thought "If there is a fictional chickens category, why not frogs, and sure enough, of course there is a Category:Fictional frogs and toads. As I said, Comprehensiveness!

This user is a member of the Association of Inclusionist Wikipedians.

The motto of the AIW is conservata veritate, which translates to "with the preserved truth".
This motto reflects the inclusionist desire to change Wikipedia only when no knowledge would be lost as a result.