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Tonythepixel, Leicester, 29 November 2009. In the background, Braunstone Gate Bridge (former Great Central main line) being demolished. Should never have been allowed to happen (and that's one POV that's staying!) Oh and by the way, in case you're wondering, that's NOT my car! (Photo taken by Paula Moody)

Tonythepixel: definition - bi-pedal carbon-based life-form (allegedly), of the species known as "homo sapiens" (allegedly).

In my case it is widely thought that my DNA does not stand for the usual Deoxywhateveritbloodyis Acid, but instead stands for Do Not Ask, meaning that I didn't ask to be here.

It has also been suggested that my DNA be renamed CIGN, which stands for Can I Go Now?

Seriously though...[edit]

I live in North Wales, in the UK, but I've travelled a fair bit, not just within the UK but in parts of Europe, though in recent years I've been caring for my mother which means I can't get about much. I'm a keen railway enthusiast, and once I'd done most of the lines in the UK I started on Europe, being drawn particularly to Germany and the former Eastern Block, with the ultimate aim of travelling within the former Soviet Union. I have no strong political leanings, but there is something about Eastern Europe and beyond that attracts me. It was partly for that reason that in 2005 I went to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland (along with Germany and Austria), culminating in a visit to Auschwitz - I'd always wanted to see it, and it was everything I'd expected multiplied many times over. I was in a very sombre mood when I came away from there.

I was pleasantly surprised by the railways, even in a little country like Slovakia. After years of hearing Britain's railways repeatedly criticised and kidding myself that the things people were saying were all rubbish, I have to admit that train travel in the UK no longer holds quite the same level of excitement for me; I have to go the Continent now to really enjoy train travel.

But it's Berlin that is my favourite city. I've been four times, love the whole city, but Potsdamer Platz is the place I mostly head for. Since first seeing it in 1996 when it was mostly still a wasteland, I've followed its redevelopment, and find it fascinating. Although I don't like all of it (the Park Kolonnaden is, for me, just a lot of boring squares), it's a dramatic symbol of destruction and rebirth; almost every human emotion has been played out there. It has seen hideousness (Hitler and Co), oppression (Communism and the Berlin Wall), great joy (the Berlin Wall was breached at Potsdamer Platz before the Brandenburg Gate); it's a marker post of human experience. In September 2005 I watched many of the world's top athletes run through it in the closing stages of that year's Berlin Marathon. And inevitably, I've added to several Wikipedia articles about subjects in the vicinity: as well as Potsdamer Platz itself, I have contributed much to articles on the three former railway termini Berlin Potsdamer Bahnhof, Berlin Anhalter Bahnhof and Berlin Dresdner Bahnhof, also the Siegesallee, Voss Strasse (where Hitler's Chancellery was sited), and Ebertstrasse.

Elsewhere, I've added to several articles of railway interest in the UK. Having limited ability to go abroad again for the time being, I've been able to rekindle my fascination with one UK line in particular, the former Great Central main line, most of which closed in the 1960s. Three decades ago I was walking long stretches of it (Aylesbury to Sheffield in six days on one memorable occasion), and taking hundreds of photographs. I've recently started doing that again, with the aim of creating my own website about the line. Back to Wikipedia, I've also contributed to articles about my birthplace and former home-town Tewkesbury, my favourite band Tangerine Dream (German electronic group), other artists making similar music, and articles on the UK music charts. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I tend to go back into an article several times to tweak a few bits here, a couple of words there, before I finally leave it alone.

Attitudes towards Wikipedia[edit]

I don't spend huge amounts of time doing things to large numbers of articles, usually just those subjects that interest me most. Keep it manageable. Know where I've been. I don't put a watch on articles and I don't study meticulously what other people have done after I've been there, except perhaps at Potsdamer Platz. Maybe go back and look after a few days or weeks, but that's all. It's very easy to feel possessive about an article. If you've created it yourself or contributed the bulk of its content, it's easy to feel "This is MINE, everyone else keep your bloody mits off!"

I always try to make sure that everything I put into an article is accurate. If everyone else did the same, there'd be no need to cite everything in sight (pun intended!) If I have a weakness, it's that I'm not good at providing citations or sources. I tend to think that as long as I'm sure my contribution is correct, then that should be good enough. I wasn't brought up to be a liar. Clearly that's not OK for many people, but I still feel that calling for the justification of large chunks of an article is not necessarily good practise. I don't like to see "citation needed" liberally applied all over an article, whether mine or anyone else's. It doesn't look good on the screen and it disrupts the flow of an article in a way that's simply irritating.

My only other gripe, if it can be called a gripe, is my attitude towards POV. There seems to be a fine line between blatant opinion and what I would call acceptable bias. Also, sometimes what may look at first like POV is actually a clear statement of fact. To say "this is a fantastic band" or "this is a brilliant album" is blatant POV simply because other people may disagree. But an apparent POV cannot really be such, in my opinion, if it cannot reasonably or sensibly be disagreed with. Therefore to describe Elvis Presley or the Beatles as "highly successful" is not POV; it is a clear statement of fact.

I've been through this before with people, with mixed responses. Acceptable bias is a somewhat greyer area, but it's what I would call the situation where an article reads as though it was written by someone clearly interested in its subject. Even though the writer may have carefully avoided blatant opinion, the tone of the article still reflects a love of its subject and projects that to the reader, and as a result it flows better, is a more enjoyable read, and may also encourage the reader to side with the writer. And that's fine by me.

My other point here concerns cases where an apparent POV should be allowed to stand because to disagree with it would be socially or morally unacceptable. Therefore, in my opinion (and other people's comments are invited), to describe Adolf Hitler or Myra Hindley as "evil" is not POV. It is, once again, a clear statement of fact.

I rest my case...for now. Tonythepixel (talk) 12:15, 12 August 2008 (UTC)