User:USEPA James

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About my username[edit]

As indicated by my user name, I work for the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Given the popularity of Wikipedia and the sometimes contentious nature of things we regulate, I proposed to my management that EPA somehow get involved in Wikipedia content when facts related to the agency's purview are substantively misstated here. After getting guidance from Wikipedia's talk page for usernames, I set up this account. Subsequently, Wikipedia admin Beeblebrox seems to approve.

I'm just a regular guy[edit]

Let me make this perfectly clear: my ability to affect EPA policies is no greater than any other person who takes the time to write to the agency. My intent here is only to improve Wikipedia content related to EPA's mission, so please don't clutter up my talk page with demands for EPA to change its regulatory decisions or policies. For that, you need to

write to EPA directly.

Why I'm here[edit]

USEPA has its own web site, so we're not interested in lording over Wikipedia content. But EPA staff like me spend an awful lot of time responding to questions from the media and to letters and emails from citizens, including senators and congressmen, who, with increasing frequency, get at least a portion of their information from Wikipedia. If an advocate on one side of a particular issue cherrypicks the facts and edits Wikipedia content to support his or her particular view, whether intentional or not, it can end up taking thousands of man-hours every year for EPA to set the record straight through individual responses--and taxpayers get stuck with the bill. I think (and EPA management agreed) that it's better to involve ourselves in Wikipedia to ensure that information related to EPA's regulatory purview is based on documented facts, with context (generally, legal or scientific citations) provided as necessary to explain why things are the way they are.

My Approach[edit]

My approach for interacting with Wikipedia will be to post a list of facts with citations to talk pages that I feel need improvement. To avoid the appearance that EPA is attempting to lord over Wikipedia content, I hope to recruit Wikipedia enthusiasts and Foundation members to use the lists I post to edit content as they see fit. If you're interested in helping out, leave a message on my talk page.--USEPA James (talk) 21:16, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

2012 update My initial approach turned out to be a complete and total failure. When I posted lists of facts with citations, other Wikipedians simply said "Looks good! Write it up!" So I ended up basically rewriting an entire article while incorporating comments from the community. For now, I intend to limit my contribution to Wikipedia to ensuring pages I contribute to are NPOV and written consistent with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines and, of course, consensus. USEPA James (talk) 20:09, 2 February 2012 (UTC)