Who is this guy on wikipedia? I am an expert in the sport of Track and field athletics with over 40 years of experience on all levels and functions.
Early on in my editing experience, I edited an article about a subject I knew personally; Bruce Jenner, who I had competed against in my younger athletic days. I wrote the majority of the content of his pre-Kardashian career (since tweaked thousands of times by other editors). Who knew at that time he would make the transgender announcement that would light the internet on fire? During the last week in April 2015, that article was the second most read article on Wikipedia. A month and a half later, when she announced her new name was Caitlyn Jenner, this same article was the overwhelming most read article during the first week of June 2015, more than quadrupling the second most read.
Let me make this perfectly clear. I am not approaching this from the perspective of being a jurassic right winger, far from it. I wish Caitlyn the best future as a woman. But I am arguing firmly for the retention of history. It was Bruce Jenner who won the decathlon in the 1976 Olympics. To say it was Caitlyn, who was not named until 2015, is a rewriting of history in order to make a point. It disagrees with what was written at the time, which is not wikipedia's role.
I have leapt off to create a few missing articles that have related to knowledge I have gained in working with the sport, sometimes the reference is oblique but there is still a tie in. For example, I spent time creating articles for and marking defunct schools who I am familiar with through their athletic results. I've also added to other subjects I have knowledge about such as my profession of Television, or the musicological knowledge I gained from my early days in radio. With a Masters in Mass Communications, I have an anal retentive streak for poorly written articles. As I find them, I have used my english and developing wiki/html skills to correct many poor articles. Red links--missing Wikipedia articles--frequently bother me and inspire me to create that article. I try to add to the chain of information, to complete that missing element. "Good Articles" usually don't need my attention.
As I roam through wikipedia and now its administrative hierarchy, I am getting increasingly more upset with those who attack articles they do not understand. There is too much of a movement to create articles for deletion and adding unnecessary BLP unsourced tags. I am fervently working against the "Information Police" who wish to remove knowledge from this database. With the recent proposal that threatens to remove articles tagged as an "unreferenced BLP," I am making a serious effort to reference and remove those tags so valuable articles are not threatened.
I take my contributions here seriously. If I'm going to go through the effort to edit something into or out of an article, it is with the intent to improve the world's knowledge about something I know about and have researched. I take particular offense to the number of edits that have been deleted. Actually that number comes from the number of edits contained in articles that have been deleted. So far, well over of a hundred of my contributions to articles that I thought were important, have been deleted. Those are not because I was in error or have been subsequently corrected, I accept that as a condition of working on wikipedia; but because someone else, usually only a handful of self appointed patrollers of wikipedia, thought THE SUBJECT was not worthy for the world to know about. I read the AfDs. Many of the "delete" respondents didn't even know about the subject. If you are able to read the article and understand the subject, then you should be speaking about its content. If you don't, butt out. For the un-human bots who are placing improper references and the people who have no expertise in a subject denying an article's significance, you will attract my ire.
My wiki philosophy is simple (taken from the statue outside Faber College). Knowledge is good.
- Unreferenced BLP backlog: 3,251 I am paying attention.
|The Tireless Contributor Barnstar|
|For your continuous work in maintaining countless sports-related articles, and record lists in particular, I hereby award you the Tireless Contributor Barnstar. Montell 74 (talk) 10:56, 2 September 2012 (UTC)|
|The Tireless Contributor Barnstar|
|Thanks for your creation of United States Records in Masters Athletics article. Your hard work is appreciated! Philipmj24 (talk) 19:29, 10 December 2010 (UTC)|
|The Barnstar of Diligence|
|This Barnstar is hereby awarded for extraordinary scrutiny, precision, and community service, especially in regard to adding references to Biographies of Living Persons.|
|The Cleanup Barnstar|
|For your efforts in resolving the unsourced BLP backlog. Keep up the good work. Gigs (talk) 22:28, 15 March 2010 (UTC)|
|The Cleanup Barnstar|
|Nice work with the quality sourcing of BLPs! Hobit (talk) 02:01, 3 April 2010 (UTC)|
|For going the extra mile. Fayerman (talk) 01:59, 20 September 2011 (UTC)|
|The Mistagged BLP Cleanup Barnstar|
|This barnstar does not cite any references or sources.
For your work with mistagged BLPs, thank you! The list is now empty with your help. Gigs (talk) 05:43, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
|The Editor's Barnstar|
|You sound like my english teacher :) In a good way! Tempuser00 (talk) 22:07, 6 May 2014 (UTC)|
|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 article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot.|
I believe in what is called "Link rot." Actually what I believe in is using bare URLs. The wikipedia administrators have carried Anal retentiveness beyond reason. On wikipedia, we want verifiable information, that is a given. I clearly give the source where I found the information or "source" that backs up the information I am supplementing. There is nothing improper about that. I DO NOT go through the slow, laborious and unnecessary step of creating the complicated and difficult to read wikipedia format for displaying the source. I don't think I should have to. My contributions to this global knowledge database already require far too much labor and concentration. Completing all those source details would slow my progress immensely. Completing those details would inhibit the majority of content contributing editors from depositing valuable content to wikipedia.
My point here is, writing all that source detail is totally unnecessary. The minority oligarchy that controls wikipedia procedures has decided that a bare URL reference automatically results in the link going down, or the information being obscured. Yes that is a possibility, but a small possibility. We cannot control what happens to outside sources. Our posting a URL does not cause that nor will writing all that detail solve that.
What they wish for is verification, which requires human supervision--someone actually re-reading the source and confirming that the conclusions in the wikipedia article are backed up by what an independent reliable source says. Its a two way street. When the site does go down, the information is no longer secured by all that source detail. Yes an article was once there, no we can't verify what its contents once were. There is zero protection of wikipedia for the verifiability of the information and it will get marked with a dead link tag.
Let me examine the psychology of the person who leaves these Tags. If you read through the source citing guidelines, one of the subsequent steps for sourcing, if there is a problem with the source, one of the solutions is to find other sources. Just leaving such a tag without taking any further action to search for other sources is the height of laziness. I equate it to Wikipedia:Vandalism and sometimes leave sarcastic comments to that effect. Like when a gang leaves Graffiti they unnecessarily deface the look of an article, its credibility and the overall look of credibility for wikipedia. If you leave such tags without doing the further work, you are NOT helping. All you are saying is "I was here." Kilroy. Instead, if you feel so motivated to detect a bare URL someone has left, you have several better options. Each will take some of your time and labor.
Run reflinks. Its easy to find--its in the tag you would be leaving behind. Like I said, I don't do it because I don't see a purpose to its results, but if you think the article desperately needs have the bare URLs cleaned up then DO IT YOURSELF.
If the source is no longer present, or there is no source listed, spend your time and find another source. Google, Yahoo, Bing, Dogpile and many others are great search engines. I've been amazed with the stuff I find when I search, based upon a start from a contribution into wikipedia. Someone with intelligence should be able to come up with combinations of key words to search out the content that needs to be verified. Watch out for the sources you do come up with--many times after something is reported in wikipedia, it is copied or mirrored on other sites. Look for unique phrasings of similar content, rather than an echo. Further, if the original source article is now missing, look for it in the The Internet Archive and WebCite.
And finally is to point out that a citation is needed or that a contention is dubious. Even there, after a serious search for the information, before you place the tag, make some sense of the content. Search back through the history of the article. If a piece of information has been part of the article for a long time, particularly if the article has had traffic, consider that a lot of eyes have looked past that point. Before you base any tag on your limited personal opinion, realize that the people who look at and find such articles over time (and made no change to the content) know more about the article than you do and probably did so because there is no problem with that content. Understand your own limitations before you tag outside your area of expertise.
So I am kind of repeating myself but I want to put in a positive spin: I will say that the best thing about working on wikipedia is that I have personally learned from it. I watch a couple thousand articles in subjects that I know, understand and am interested in. I service those articles, deleting absolute garbage that is added by all manner of vandals, spammers or idiots who do not read the article. At the same time, I take each new addition at face value. Many times, what someone else has posted leads me to do the kind of research I expect of others. I learn that even things other editors have dismissed are legitimate, documentable pieces of information that do belong in the article. That doesn't mean that the original edit is perfect, but with that tidbit of truth you can google paragraphs of amazing stuff I did not know about before that post.
There is a certain amount of ego involved in making wikipedia edits. You have to think you know more than what is already posted. At the same time, you have to learn when to turn off your ego and absorb new information that may conflict with what you think you know and might be inconsistent with the Point of View you might initially have. I do not know where the path will lead me, but its an interesting journey.
I've spent too much time fighting the deletion process here. I'm sorry I don't have good faith, because I've seen too many administrators abuse their powers in order to remove content from our pages. The BLP debates brought forth many of the crazies. I refer to them in those terms because of the passionately psychotic fashion they exhort their power here. I'm not the only observer of this phenomenon. Another editor wrote the best summation I have seen of this. It is a must read for anybody puzzled by the wikipedia decision making process, or by my sometimes biting comments about that process.
Here is an unnecessary battle I have fought with the forces of stupidity that rule wikipedia. This was supposedly a discussion initially brought by a well meaning editor who suggested the name of the category I created should be renamed, not deleted, renamed. But by bringing it into a domain called Categories for Discussion, the article came into the realm of what this truly is Categories for Deletion. If you read through the discussion, there are several people suggesting different renamings of the category and three individual editors who push for deletion. The result, on just three and a half "votes," the category ended up deleted. There were three and a half others suggesting a name change. You'd think we could solve this kind of thing by creating a new category with a proper name. But here is the dastardly legacy of such a discussion. I created a new category, named more consistently with the previous discussion. In fact, I took the suggested name from one of the people who voted to delete. And don't let the consensus semantics fool you these are votes. The result is this discussion for deletion started by an editor who apparently wants to delete everything. He accused the category of being too broad. Who votes, who even participates in the discussion? Two of the same three who had it deleted previously. And it gets a "speedy" deletion because it is a recreation. That is what I refer to as prejudice. Above I mention how people who have no knowledge of the subject should butt out. This is the case.
Wikipedia is about compiling knowledge that other people can learn from. Categories help people find information. Granted the world's knowledge is not greatly affected by star high school athletes or even the sport of track and field to which I have contributed to so heavily. But this is the field I have my knowledge in and one I know where to find the sources. I looked through the history of the handful of editors who successfully had these categories deleted. I could not find a significant editorial contribution any of them had made to an article regarding the subject of the category under discussion (though they have made minor formatting edits). They blow out an opinion of the significance of something they know very little about. And that opinion, by their mere presence and the absence of others, affects what everybody else in the world can potentially learn about the subject.
What is upsetting is the system. This small minority of wikipedia elite are the only ones who travel in these backrooms. So they are the only ones who make decisions about what the world can know . . . about anything. There are probably plenty of things on wikipedia that are totally useless. But for that clean up effort, how much valuable content is being quashed and stamped with a future mark of death, by this extreme minority in the process?
I keep seeing some very vocal, active editors on wikipedia, many of them with administrative credentials, who spend their time sanitizing what we are allowed to know. If you see me talking about people who are more equal than others, I think the reference is applicable. As I repeat through this page, I am here about furthering information. Whenever I remove information, it is because I have researched the subject and know it is wrong. More often, I correct errors, if there is substance to what is posted.
Wikipedia Success Stories
This site is a collaborative collection of knowledge. I'm here helping to impart the missing information I am able to recall, much of it as an adjunct to what I am able to learn from the site. It sometimes makes the subject matter I jump in to seem haphazard. One such case produced the wonderful chain of events that shows what is possible. I found an article under attack at WP:AfD. Knowing a little about the subject I looked to see if that point was there (which it was), which took me another couple of links deeper. Standing out like a sore thumb was the air name of a radio legend I knew of. He had no article, so I googled to see what was available. After collecting what became about a dozen sources, I started the article Captain Mikey. Within hours, a couple of other editors discovered this article and added to it. One editor in particular has made close to 150 edits in the first three days of the life of this article. He has taken this from a better than average mention of this man's career, into details I could never have imagined were available. This shows the potential of Wikipedia and makes the battles to retain content worthwhile.
My athletic career
Just for the record, I ran against Bruce Jenner many times during the training times in San Jose. I happened to be a better sprinter and long jumper than he, so a feather in my cap is to say I was ahead of Jenner in a decathlon. That was temporary, I still can't throw, while that is the reason Jenner was exceptional. Jenner's 100m personal best is only .06 faster than mine. Jenner set that in the Olympics vs the world's best. I set mine the first time vs Jenner.
Over the years I have had exceptional opportunities to compete against some of the best athletes in the world. Lee Evans, Millard Hampton, Cyndy Poor, Francie Larrieu, Andre Phillips, Brian Oldfield, James Lofton, Jim Ryun, Rod Dixon, Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Florence Griffith Joyner, Alice Brown, Bob Richards, Marion Jones, Tyree Washington, Dave Johnson, Dwight Stones, John Godina. I'll probably keep adding to the list. That's the neat thing about track and field, you never know who will show up on the same starting line (or enter a field event) as you. Sometimes celebrities are paid just to show up. Other times, they are there for the same purpose as you are, to do their best.
I'll take credit for initiating and writing the majority of these articles:
- United States Olympic Trials (track and field)
- 1968 in athletics
- Running boom of the 1970s
- All-weather running track
- Starting blocks
- CIF California State Meet
- Masters Athletics World Records
- United States Records in Masters Athletics
- World Masters Athletics
- World Masters Athletics Championships
- Mt. SAC Relays
- List of Masters Athletes
- List of closed secondary schools in California
- United States high school national records in track and field
- And almost all event analysis content under
- Athletics at the 2012 Summer Olympics
- 2011 World Championships in Athletics
- and the 2013 World Championships in Athletics
Note to self: Here are a few articles I intend to start, in no particular order. Sandbox Picture Upload Hilmer Lodge Stadium Earl Fee Nolan Shaheed Stan Whitley Gary Tuttle Leslie Maxie Cyndy Poor Jeshua Anderson Reggie Wyatt George Porter (athlete) Paul Wilson (pole vaulter) Brandon Richards Henry Thomas (athlete) Tommy Skipper Candy Young Polly Plumer Lasse Viren Finnish Invitational Carlsbad 5000 Arturo Barrios Invitational Sunkist Invitational