He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. —Friedrich Nietzsche
- Musings, a collection of opinions on various aspects of Wikipedia
- /Library, books and sources I own that might be useful for articles
- /Sandbox, article ideas and to-do list
- /Useful things, useful links and other things. Feel free to add or steal
I'm Harry Mitchell! Most people call me Harry or HJ for brevity (I really hate being addressed by my surname!).
I write about military history, architecture, and anything else that piques my interest. For the centenary of the First World War, I've been researching and writing about war memorials. Other subjects I dabble in include railways, policing, politics, and current events but sometimes I'll read about something elsewhere, look it up only to realise it doesn't have an article, and then write the article to satisfy my own curiosity. I once wrote an article on a train after seeing the subject mentioned in the news.
I also get involved with some of the back-end areas of Wikipedia. I'm an administrator and an oversighter (which means I can hide grossly inappropriate content, like libel and personal information, even from other administrators). I like to think of myself as 'keeping the wheels turning' when I'm acting in those capacities—none of them grant me any sort of authority. I strongly believe that administrators are servants of the community and should remain in the position only for as long as they enjoy the community's confidence. The downside of these positions is that I tend to spend more time dealing with vandalism and other nonsense rather than writing encyclopaedia articles.
I've volunteered in the past with Wikimedia UK, the registered charity that supports Wikipedia in the UK; I'm less involved these days, partly as my life has moved in different directions (like moving to the middle of nowhere!). Through my involvement in Wikimedia UK, I became involved in organising and running Wikimania 2014 in London. I recruited the dozens of volunteers who made sure the conference ran smoothly, advised on community issues, and helped with some of the behind-the-scenes things like planning for emergencies. During the conference, I looked after the dozens of wonderful volunteers, who in turn looked after thousands of delegates for five days. Like any major project, it had its occasional hiccups, but being part of such a wonderful group of people all working towards a common goal was the experience of a lifetime!
Back to Wikipedia itself for a moment, I've been editing since March 2009. I started because I was enticed by the idea that I could edit, and I stick around because I want to help make the encyclopaedia even better than it already is, and because Wikipedians are some of the most remarkable people I've ever come across. I sometimes hear people say that all the articles have been written, but even with 5.5 million articles I constantly find notable subjects that don't have their own article. Trying to fill in the gaps can be addictive! Wikipedia will always be a work in progress but I like to think I'm doing my part to improve the sum of human knowledge.
If you like trivia, my favourite colour is teal, I love Taylor Swift, I have a penchant for single malt whisky (double and neat!), and I'm 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) and stocky but generally considered a "gentle giant".
If you have questions or need help, please feel free to ask on my talk page—if I can't help you, there's a good chance I'll know somebody who can.
- If it's about Wikipedia, your best bet is my talk page; that's also monitored by friendly people who might be able to help you better or quicker!
- You can email me through this form or at hjmwiki at gmail.com, but
- If you need something suppressed ("oversighted") you might be better off using this form or oversight-en-wp at wikipedia.org.
- I'm on Facebook as "mitchell.hj" (HJ Mitchell there is someone else), and Twitter as @HJ_Mitchell (though I rarely use it).
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