I am placing some of my previous writings that I feel are superseded, unimportant in current context, or just plain moldy, in /Cecropia rants and mouldy fluff archive 1 in the interests of transparency, rather than simply delete them.
My long Wikibreak
Those who know how prolific I was "Back in the Day" may wonder what happened to me. Back in 2004, Jimbo had recently expressed a desire to have a class of users who could handle the administrative end of overseeing Requests for Adminship (then often inaccurately called "sysops" and actually "flipping the switch" to create a user as an Admin. The first Bureaucrats were appointed but that chore too was became a poll of the community. So I was in the early class of Elected rather than Appointed Bureaucrats,
My production was driven by my love of the encyclopedia, my joy of contribution, the feeling I was doing something important, and my engagement with many other Wikipedians.
At that Wikipedia felt very much like a project on training wheels, and it had yet to gain respect as a source. Students dared not quote Wikipedia as a source.
I had the time to do extensive work in the article space, as well as engaging the community as an Admin and a 'Crat. Part of that was because I had a going business as a Data Industry Consultant. The industry made a number of changes and gradually I was forced into semi-retirement (euphemism for underemployed/unemployed). By 2008 things became harder as I sought other work and employment If you actually believe there are laws to prevent employment discrimination against people over 40 (U.S.), try finding work in an industry, especially a tech industry, when you are 62. There are many ways to avoid hiring an older person without triggering the law. Perhaps I'll write an essay one day, but not now. Suffice to say I found a job (at much less pay) that offered medical and other benefits to sustain my family. The person who hired me overlooked the common fear that I would only be there a few years. Upshot: I've been there almost 15 years now, working full time.
Still flapping around; these newfangled Compact Fluorescents are a little less dangerous than the old Edison bulbs. -- Cheers! Cecropia (talk) 16:12, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I am not going to make a Mark Twain-esque comment. I am glad that (some) Wikipedians care enough to list me as a Missing Wikipedian, but I'm still around and even hoping to get back in the game before too very long. Moths are reputed to have a short lifespan, but not this one. Cheers, Cecropia (talk) 22:37, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
I am the same old Cecropia, but currently still engaged in personal stuff that needs attention, as well as my vocations, which I find rewarding as well as necessary, eating-wise.
I am delighted the way in which Wikipedia is evolving into a real encyclpedia of depth and diversity, but I still wouldn't accept it as a primary source. ;-) Cecropia (talk) 17:56, 27 September 2009 (UTC)
Just to update: Hello to all my Wikifriends, including those I haven't met yet. I'm kind of sad I haven't had the time to participate as I'd like to in Wikipedia in what has obviously been an exciting and productive two years. It's my desire to return when circumstances permit to resume contributing, admining, and bureaucraticing. Cheers! Cecropia (talk) 20:44, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I am on extended Wikibreak, doing real life stuff that requires attention. I promise to have more of a presence when I'm able. Cheers, Cecropia (talk) 13:13, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
I am still up to my proboscis in "stuff," but I hope to gradually get my wings wetter in Wikipedia with my Wikifriends. -- Cecropia (talk) 15:52, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Getting a bit more active this week. Gad, my user page is going to start looking like twitter. - Cecropia (talk) 23:40, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Someone once said that Man can live without anything but hope. I got to thinking about how I was in the stage of life where your great hopes have either been fulfilled or else withered. I still have hopes now, but they are much more modest. I am not nearly dead yet, and I may yet accomplish some of the unfulfilled dreams of my life; I still have a chance to "make a difference in the world." But if the adage about man not being able to live without hope is true, what sustains my life? Are my diminished hopes reflective of a diminished life?
I think of my children. Of my children's friends. The hope of youth. The world wide open. Their happy laughter. Even their frettings about life and love and the future; their fear of disappointments are evidence of hope. No hope; no disappointment.
Suddenly I understand why we have children. Their hope is my hope. The hope of their generation is my hope also. With children the old are directed outward instead of inward. Embracing children: my own; of others; of people I will never see or meet, means that the world does not end when I end. Their hope lives on, and in turn is passed on, to the end of time.
Admin advice: Page Protection and Unprotection
You'll get a different answer from different admins. Wikipolicy is that page protection is bad, so that pages should be protected only when absolutely necessary (to stop immediate vandalism or a major revert war) and/or when requested to do so by editors on both sides of a disagreement in an article who want a "time out" to work out differences.
Unprotection is even more of an art, much more so than bureaucracy, which is pretty dull except when there is a heated disagreement. My opinion is:
- If the article was protected because of constant vandalism, try unprotecting after 24 hours, but be ready to reprotect for another 24 hours if it resumes.
- If unprotection is requested by one of the editors on an article after a content dispute, see what the requester's reasoning is. If the request is from only one of the editors, ask (on the article's talk page) whether it is generally agreed the page should be unprotected.
- If unprotection hasn't been requested but you see there has been no discussion for a week or so, propose unprotection on the talk page of the article. Say "without objection, I intend to unprotect this article in (whenever, "soon," 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours) and then do it if there's no flak.
IMO, you will rarely go wrong as an admin if, before you take a possibly disputed action, you are confident you can defend it as though you were actually being paid to do this. ;-)
Admin advice: Threatening a Block
The question was raised: If an admin tells an editor that he must stop a certain behavior or be blocked from editing, and the editor does not stop the behavior, must the admin block him or her?
- First, do not threaten a block unless you are confident that the behavior is worthy of a block.
- Once you are determined that a block is appropriate, I would first tell the user that he is subject to a block: i.e., "Please do not vandalize Wikipedia. Persistent vandalism may cause you to be blocked from editing."
- Once you have given the first warning (or if another admin has already given a warning) then it is appropriate to be more firm in your wording: "Please stop vandalizing Wikipedia. If you persist, you will be blocked."
- Now to the answer the question of whether you must block after issuing the second warning and observing (after a short time to reasonably believe that the offender has received the second warning) that the behavior continues, you must block. If you don't, then there is no point in making the threat in the first place.
- Caveat: Of course, if you encounter someone who is actively engaged in rampant vandalism, you may have no choice but to block immediately, and then inform the user why it was done.
Articles I started
Here are the articles I began, best as I can figure out. I've tried to avoid stubs and redirects—i.e., these were started with at least some useful content, sometimes a lot, and sometimes I added to the articles later.
I have slowly begun adding articles that I didn't start but have written from stubs, marked with * or have significantly rewritten or added to, marked with a †.
- Wikipedia:Policy Library
- Wikipedia:Cite your sources
- Wikipedia:Conflict resolution
- Wikipedia:Brilliant prose
- Wikipedia:Neutral point of view
- Wikipedia:Pages needing attention
- Wikipedia:Peer review
- Wikipedia:Bad jokes and other deleted nonsense
- Wikipedia:Village pump
- Wikipedia:Boilerplate text
Full disclosure: I cribbed these from Sam Spade. Thanks, Sam!
Some thoughts on Wikipedia and Wikis
I'm fascinated by Wiki's ability to become a storehouse of knowledgeable arcana that usually receives short shrift in other encyclopedias. If arcana aren't exactly the bricks of the house of knowledge, they're at least the pebbles in the mortar.
I find this a wonderful experiment in establishing a free, useful resource for the wide world. Even edit wars and an overall bias that may be seen in certain articles can be useful for future scholars and historians (since the edit history is all archived) to see what arguments were raging at a given point in time and to try to assess the positions and biases of the (often faceless) protagonists for one view or another.
Some of personal curiosities for the future of Wikis include:
- will contentious articles even out in the end, or will they end up representing the POV of the most persistent?
- will the unspoken, even unconscious, biases of whoever constitutes the bulk of contributors eventually drive away honest contributors who adhere to a different view?
- will a valuing system eventually be placed on articles?
- will Wikis resist becoming hierarchical or "clubby"?
- will hard-and-fast rules begin to replace consensus?
- like other new and exciting ideas, like ... erm ... Marxism, will we one day see a WikiInc® keeping the framework but destroying the intent of Wikipedia? (eventually to be bought out by a Microsoft)?
- sort of like the above, will a wonderful and well-thought out experiment someday see its Jimbos replaced by its Josefs?
If anyone has thoughts on these issues, please place them in my Talk, not here.
I've been writing or editing on a wide if odd mix of subjects of interest, including (in no particular order) Great Expectations, Egg Creams, Coney Island Creek, Anti-Semitism, Autism, Freedomland U.S.A., Dog catcher, Jukes and Kallikaks, Multiple-unit train control, Good (accounting), L. Sprague de Camp, Terrorism, Law of land warfare, Vietnam war, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Shining, Kristallnacht, Red herring, Yellow ribbon, Asymmetric warfare, Jane Fonda, John Kerry, Illegal combatant, Autistic savant, Political subdivisions of New York State, War crime, Wesley Clark, George W. Bush, Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, New York subway, Fulton Fish Market, General Motors Streetcar Conspiracy, Malbone Street Wreck, Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, and others I'm too lazy to think of at the moment.
I have a POV about certain subjects which I try to be open about; no point really, people usually see through users who make obviously partisan changes under rubrics such as "the article is too big," "this belongs somewhere else," and my favorite: "I don't have a POV, everybody else has a POV." :) But I have been writing for a long time (my first paid article was written for the long-extinct New York Journal-American) and I make an effort for my edits and contributions to be NPOV or to balance existing POV, to be accurate and, if controversial, to be well-documented. At any rate, I stand behind the integrity of anything I write.
Since I'm pushing social security age, I've worn a lot of hats in my lifetime. The only more or less common thread that's moved in and out of my life is programming and computers. When I began in the trade, COBOL and Fortran were the thing, and loading your program meant begging a cranky Univac not to chew your punch cards. Now I'm very next Tuesday with Linux and web services and all. Learning UNIX back when was a big help and I'm a Novell CNE, which I guess is also kind of dinosaurish now.
But I've also been:
- A typographer (set type by just about every means there is except Monotype)
- A printing foreman
- A military instructor in the U.S. Army
- A military policeman
- A technical writer
- A transportation analyst
- A writer of local social, physical and political history
- A rescuer of fair maidens
- A husband and father, unexpectedly perhaps my favorite role
Politically, my family was liberal/socialist. I was a lifetime Democrat, but dropped my registration in 1998 and am now officially an Independent. I am a 50-year plus labor union member and former union steward. I have libertarian leanings but am too libertarian to join that or any other party any more. I retain my liberal belief in the basic goodness of humans but also feel that people sometimes poison their minds when they adhere to groups instead of seeing others as individuals.
I have been involved in advocacy and public speaking on various topics across the political spectrum. I am the father of an autistic child and am interested in the science, education, and social treatment of those with different and altered abilities.
I'm afraid some of these are necessarily quite heavily paraphrased, where I don't have access to the original quote. Presented in no particular order.
- The father of an old friend, who told his teenaged son, as they were about to depart for "resettlement in the east" during wartime Germany: "Have courage. Everyone dies. It's just a matter of when." The father, son and his brother survived. The friend's mother and sister were murdered.
- Bob Dylan, early in his career, commented on the bevy of pundits and critics who were trying to "expose" him: "Don't they understand? I expose myself every time I walk on the stage."
- William J. Ronan, once head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York): "What small bits of power people fight over."
- My dad, when I was about to pursue our family dog under the couch: "Don't follow him there. Even an animal needs a safe place."
- Also my dad, after I had lost a favorite toy: "Don't be too upset about something that can be replaced with only money. The most important things can't."
- Paul McCartney, commenting on his attitude toward rumors of The Beatles reforming: "You can't rewarm a souffle."
The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.
The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one:
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.
—Francis William Bourdillon
And only if my own true love was waiting
and if I could hear her heart a'softly pounding
Only if she were lying by me
could I rest in my bed once again
—Bob Dylan, "Tomorrow is a Long Time"