|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".
I am FASCINATED by the concept of an encyclopedia of everything (with each article built word by word) and I love the thought of participating in it even more so. Plus, it's fun! Here are my user boxes, and here are some of the articles, categories, and templates I have started. The quotes below give some insights into my ideas, motivations, approaches, and aspirations regarding contributing to Wikipedia:
"Language, that is to say, is the indispensable mechanism of human life -- of life such as ours that is molded, guided, enriched, and made possible by the accumulation of the past experience of members of our own species. Dogs and cats and chimpanzees do not, so far as we can tell, increase their wisdom, their information, or their control over their environment from one generation to the next. But human beings do. The cultural accomplishment of the ages, the invention of cooking... ...and the discovery of all the arts and sciences come to us as free gifts from the dead. These gifts, which none of us has done anything to earn, offer us not only the opportunity for a richer life than our forebears enjoyed but also the opportunity to add to the sum total of human achievement by our own contributions, however small they may be."
— S.I. Hayakawa
"The list is the origin of culture. It's part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order -- not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries."
— Umberto Eco
"So, in defending the use of these words, I begin by asking the question: why were they invented? They must have been invented because there was, as the economist put it, “a felt need” for them. That is to say, there came a moment at which a writer felt that the existing inventory didn’t quite do what he wanted it to do. These words were originally used because somebody with a sensitive ear felt the need for them. Do you therefore, because it’s very seldom that one hears an A-flat diminished tenth, say to yourself, I won’t use that chord, notwithstanding the pleasure it gives to people whose ears are educated enough to hear that little difference? People don’t say to a musician, please don’t use any unusual chords."
— William F. Buckley, Jr.
"A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?... ...But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases: 1) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. 2) Never use a long word where a short one will do. 3) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. 4) Never use the passive where you can use the active. 5) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. 6) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous."
— George Orwell
"In the world of journalism, the personal Web site ("blog") was hailed as the killer of the traditional media. In fact it has become something quite different. Far from replacing newspapers and magazines, the best blogs -- and the best are very clever -- have become guides to them, pointing to unusual sources and commenting on familiar ones. They have become the new mediators for the informed public. Although the creators of blogs think of themselves as radical democrats, they are in fact a new Tocquevillean elite. Much of the Web has moved in this direction because the wilder, bigger, and more chaotic it becomes, the more people will need help navigating it."
— Fareed Zakaria
"Bowie was omnivorous and eclectic—a lifetime student of all of the arts. He was a painter, for example, and he also had superb instincts for photography—which is why his album covers and pioneering videos were so wonderful... ...Aspiring young artists should model themselves on the protean Bowie, who ransacked art history for ideas and who never lost his cultural hunger."
— Camille Paglia, on the death of David Bowie
"...this fabulous tome proved to contain far more than the expected animal lore and camping tips — it was also useful for everything from advanced chemical analysis to translating ancient languages that have baffled generations of scholars. If there were limits to this font of inexhaustible knowledge, the readers never saw them."
— Don Markstein's Toonopedia, referring to The Junior Woodchucks' Guide Book
"It is also useful to include indexes that organize the same items in different ways. This is important for enabling people to find things in ways that are most appropriate for the things they know or the ways they learn. All people learn differently and have varying skills. Some may be comfortable with maps while others prefer lists. Some may not understand an alphabetical listing while others can’t relate to a continuum. Multiple organizations help everyone find things easier. In addition, even if people understand the organization, they may not have the correct information. For example, they may know the street they need to go to, but not where to find it on a map (this is where street indexes come in handy). They may know that they want a recipe for a low-calorie dessert, but don’t want to search through every recipe in their cookbooks to find one. It is precisely the ability to see the same set of things in different organizations that allows people to uncover the patterns in the relationships between these things. Ideally, people should be able to rearrange the organizations themselves or be provided with different arrangements so they can begin to understand these patterns for themselves."
— Nathan Shedroff
"Even as old and beautiful folk musical traditions persisted in America, Lomax knew that they wouldn't persist forever, and for years and years traveled tirelessly, especially throughout the South, lugging every technology of preservation he could think of: tape recorders, cameras, video cameras, notebooks. He didn't want to leave these matters to chance -- to what Harry Smith happened to like enough to collect, or what fascinated a blues-lover enough to make him pore through old maps. He wanted to record everything, to make what he called a 'global jukebox' that anyone and everyone could use."
— Alan Jacobs, on the legacy of Alan Lomax (referencing Harry Everett Smith)
"Any writer of history aims at stating the truth, but that is only ancillary to the central role of the discipline, which is to present patterns and permit the welter of facts to be reconceived... ...The dissenter who says 'it was not like that' is in the situation of friends passing judgment on another friend: 'He did this, which means that.' 'No, it doesn't, because he also did that, which means this.'... ...Such is the reason for saying that a reader of history must be a reader of histories - several on the same topic - and a judge at leisure on the points in conflict."
— Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence
"Consider the obstacles standing in the way of knowing anyone from the past, whether or not they wrote and preserved testaments to their existence. Every source, every document, comes from a person in a particular relationship to the subject, and every source, every document has a reason for existing. No means of knowing the past is objective, and none is transparent."
— Nell Irvin Painter, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol
"Reminiscence, in its nature, is the recollection of past persons and events largely without benefit of historical documents. Its authenticity depends upon the memory of the remembrancer. But memory fades and, as everyone knows, is subject to tricks: of vanity and conceit, of partiality, error, and displacement... ...Reminiscence, as the product of memory, is not simply imprinted but constructed by the mind. In it truth and error dwell so closely together that one seems lost without the other. Reminiscence is the opposite of inquiry. One professes through memory to recover something once present in the mind; the other professes through knowledge to validate the past."
— Merrill D. Peterson, Lincoln in American Memory
"Before the Internet, ordinary people could only publish their ideas and creations if they went through a gatekeeper. The Internet allows for subcultures to form and expand. If you're one in a thousand, then on the Internet there are two and half million people who identify with the things you love."
"...in the Encyclopedia he wrote articles on everything from Aristotle to artificial flowers. One of his charms is that you never know what he is going to say or do next... ...The aims of the Encyclopedia seem harmless enough to us. But authoritarian governments don't like dictionaries. They live by lies and bamboozling abstractions, and can't afford to have words accurately defined."
— Kenneth Clark, commenting on the work of Diderot
"The heroes of Wikipedia are not giants in their fields but so-called WikiGnomes—editors who sweep up typos, arrange articles in neatly categorized piles, and scrub away vandalism. This work is often thankless, but it does not seem to be joyless... ...Most dedicated editors, whether deletionist or inclusionist, are that category of person who sits somewhere between expert and amateur: the enthusiast... ...Pedantry this powerful is itself a kind of engine, and it is fueled by an enthusiasm that verges on love... ...Wikipedia has eccentricity, elegance, and surprise in abundance, especially in those moments when enthusiasm becomes excess and detail is rendered so finely (and pointlessly) that it becomes beautiful."
— Richard Cooke
"The biggest body of accessible knowledge that the world has ever had is all thanks to nerds with computers who find general satisfaction from writing — and scrupulously maintaining — encyclopedia articles."
— Annie Rauwerda
"As soon as Wikipedia became ‘good enough’ to settle a debate or answer a casual question, it engendered a virtuous cycle of content editing and creation. Someone would search Wikipedia for something, and either add or modify what they found based on their own knowledge of the subject."
— Mark Pesce
"...I have seen him approach an immense pile of apparently worthless material and unerringly find in its huge mass one or two treasures which would have been lost to a less inspired collector..."
— Arthur Spingarn, referring to Arthur A. Schomburg
"Turn every page. Never assume anything. Turn every goddamned page."
— advice given to Robert Caro by his boss Alan Hathway
"My basic approach to interviewing is to ask the basic questions that might even sound naive, or not intellectual. Sometimes when you ask the simple questions like 'Who are you?' or 'What do you do?' you learn the most."
— Brian Lamb
Types of edits I like to make
|28 November 2022|
I like putting articles into categories, and creating new categories when appropriate. This includes cleaning up Stubs and putting them into Categories. I think the basic journalism questions of who, what, where, when, and why are often overlooked when articles get categorized, and I think that such categorization can improve the wiki reader's experience. (Speaking of "when", I have become interested in the categorization of certain pages not just by year, but by month and year.) Also, there are plenty of times when thinking abstractly about the subject of an article can lead to some good categorization that otherwise would not suggest itself.
I look for opportunities to add appropriate wikilinks to existing articles, especially when they might not be obvious links. This goes both for articles I read where I see plain text that could be linked, and also for articles I read that are not linked to by other articles when it seems that such links should exist. (Why? This article lays out some of the potential benefits, and this data visualization illustrates, among other things, aspects of linked-ness.) For example, the relatively new article Douglas MacArthur's escape from the Philippines did not have a lot of incoming links, so I went and added some (mostly piped) to the articles for They Were Expendable, John D. Bulkeley, Motor Torpedo Boat PT-41, Philippines Campaign (1941–1942), Japanese occupation of the Philippines, and others. I also like to keep an eye on redlinks, especially if it seems likely that there is an existing article under a slightly different name that the redlink could be pointed to.
Making pages and templates about non-fiction writers and non-fiction books
Another thing I think is important is having wiki articles (even if they are only stubs) about the various historians, journalists, essayists, non-fiction authors, and documentarians whose works are cited in our other articles. I think that having writers' wiki articles linked to in the reference sections of the articles for which their works serve as citations helps wiki users who are interested in pursuing similar writings by the same author, and also provides a basic framework to understand who it is that has prepared the reliable source that is being cited.
Same thing for articles about non-fiction books - If a book is used in a bunch of citations throughout the rest of WP, and it has its own article, then I try to link the citations to the article for the book. I look for opportunities to create redirects for books that have subtitles, but whose articles are only named by their book's main title. BTW - I hate hate hate lists of books where the books have individual phrases within their titles linked (such as Spaghetti: The Pasta That Changed the World) and I try to clean those up wherever possible. On the page National Book Award for Nonfiction I found an approach to this in which I am interested:
*[[Arnold Rampersad]], ''Ralph Ellison: A Biography'' <small><sup>[bio: [[Ralph Ellison]]]</sup></small>
which looks like:
I think that if there is ever a question of notability for a serious non-fiction writer who is the subject of a newly created article, that the presence of their name in the reference sections of existing wiki articles on the topics about which they write can practically always serve as evidence of their own notability.
I have created basic wiki articles for a number of historians, journalists, and filmmakers including Neil Baldwin, Paul C. Nagel, William Lee Miller, Heidi Ewing, Ari Hoogenboom, Edna Greene Medford, and Willard Sterne Randall. I have also created articles for certain books with which I am familiar and that I believe to be significant, including The Nightingale's Song and America in the King Years. I would like to create more of each.
I also think that templates showing the different pages on the works (and other related articles) for such authors and documentarians help readers on one page find other pages of interest. I have created templates for Albert and David Maysles, David Frost, H. L. Mencken, Steven Berlin Johnson, Kirby Dick, William Manchester, and others.
I love C-SPAN, and there's a lot of stuff I have done and even more that I want to do in Wikipedia related to C-SPAN. (Should we start a WikiProject?)
Some of the edits have even stirred up a little bit of controversy, but I am happy to say that since I started methodically adding C-SPAN links to various articles in Fall 2011, over twenty of them (including Franklin Pierce, W. E. B. Du Bois (twice!), Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley, Assassination of William McKinley, Richard Nixon, James G. Blaine, Jefferson Davis, John Tyler, Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Early life and military career of John McCain, William McKinley presidential campaign, 1896, William Howard Taft, George S. Patton, Alben W. Barkley, John Adams, William H. Seward, 2010 United States Senate Democratic primary election in Pennsylvania, and Ursula K. Le Guin) have shown up as featured articles (i.e., front page upper left) with the links intact. This says to me that the links have passed the scrutiny of multiple article reviewers who were specifically looking to separate the wheat from the chaff.
To paraphrase what I have mentioned elsewhere on WP: I do not now, nor have I in the past, nor do I expect to in the future, take any $$$ or any other compensation from C-SPAN or any related entity for doing any work on Wiki content or anything else; My interest in C-SPAN (which began in the early 1990s) has a confluence with my interest in Wikipedia (which began in the early 2000s) - Namely, that both are fantastic vehicles for the free exchange of ideas and information in a manner that defies sound bites, and they both invite the participation of any parties (expert or amateur) who are interested in taking the time to absorb and/or contribute to the ideas and information offered. C-SPAN and Wikipedia go together like peanut butter and jelly, and I want to help give other Wiki users easy access to the great work that C-SPAN has done on a variety of topics. This includes, but is not limited to, both creating C-SPAN-related articles, and also adding appropriate external links for interviews, presentations, or tours on the pages for journalists, politicians, historical figures and sites, books, and other pertinent subjects. (Here's a C-SPAN timeline, here's a great article that summarizes Brian Lamb's work with creating and growing C-SPAN, and here are all the WP links to C-SPAN.org.)
|Search user languages|
- Help with backlog in general.
- Fixing ISBN errors - Category:Pages with ISBN errors (Here is a handy check digit calculator)
- Wikipedia:WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles
- Helping to pay my respects to those who have passed away.
- Whenever I watch a movie, I like to find at least one thing about that movie's article (or maybe the article for the director, one of the actors, etc.) that I can add or improve. Same thing for places I visit.
- Same thing if a certain name or event or topic comes up when I'm reading or watching about something in the news, or on C-SPAN, or PBS, or Fareed Zakaria or whatever. (Plus, it's interesting to read about Wikipedia in the news.)
- Same thing whenever I read a (non-fiction) book - I look for at least one article where I can use the book in a citation for existing information, or add new information using the book as a reliable source.
- I know a little bit of Spanish, German, and French, and hardly any Italian. Despite my shortcomings in these languages (all of which I hope to improve) I have created user accounts in all those languages' Wikipedias, and I am going to try to read something from and/or contribute something to each of those wikis once
a weekin a while.
- Sometimes it is handy to use the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine: https://archive.org/web/
- Once in a while I play with Citation Hunt and WikiLoop Battlefield.
Frequent and interesting clicks
Tip of the Day
Tip of the Day
This week's article for improvement
This week's article for improvement
Handy things to remember
Handy things to remember
To get Google search results before a given date, add “before:YYYY-MM-DD” to your search query. For example, searching “the best donuts in Boston before:2008-01-01” will yield content from 2007 and earlier. To get results after a given date, add “after:YYYY-MM-DD” at the end of your search.
Handy Wikipedia pages
Frequently used infoboxes