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    This user is no longer very active on Wikipedia.

    Hi, I'm a physicist. I started editing here because I wanted a hobby where my bookish habits could, in some small way, help people. Since at least the start of last year, I've been episodically burned out on this place, because nearly everything comes back to cleaning up after incompetence, laziness, advertising, or ego. I try to focus my limited time and energy on maintenance that might otherwise fall by the wayside. Lately, this has meant trying to fix places where careless use of a "ReferenceExpander" bot led to references being contracted instead.

    I don't know if anyone actually cares, but I did once try to set out general advice on writing physics and mathematics content.

    XOR'easter (talk) 03:47, 25 May 2023 (UTC)

    Articles created or substantially improved[edit]

    Whenever I see someone bloviating about the decline of Western civilization, or the loss of respect for Enlightenment values, or whatever the buzzword is this week, I pause and reflect that I wrote the Internet's most visible reference on Newton's laws of motion. Yes, that's right, I'm the one who actually did the work to preserve the "Enlightenment legacy" in the modern age, thank you very much and fuck off.

    I didn't think starting new pages would be my thing here, but I did create the page Ibn al-Samh, because there were multiple redlinks pointing to where it should be. In a similar vein, I happened to be looking over the WikiProject Physics quality scale, and I saw that one of its examples of mid-importance physics publications was actually a redlink. So, I created the page for Classical Electrodynamics, a.k.a. Jackson. Likewise, I started the pages for Mike and Ike and Quantum Theory: Concepts and Methods. I've occasionally rewritten pages like Mugai Nyodai or Joyce Jacobson Kaufman to save them from being deleted as copyright violations.

    During the Featured Article nomination of thorium, I made a few comments and did a little improvement work. Ditto for the Good Article nomination of Prime number. After doing some editing on Gleason's theorem, I nominated it for GA status, and it was accepted after a thorough review. I took the lead on collaborative overhauls of Schrödinger equation and quantum mechanics, the latter of which eventually reached GA. In addition, I helped Speed of light, Mars, Solar System, and Planet retain their Featured status (see discussions here, here, here, and here respectively). I uncovered a hoax in the Richard Feynman article that had persisted for over 15 years.

    I started skimming the daily "Articles for Deletion" log in order to broaden my horizons at least a little. Sometimes, I ended up participating. The happy outcomes were when I could help improve a page to the point where it deserved keeping. Instances of that general nature have included the following.

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    Thanks to the apostrophe in my username, the deletion-discussion-statistics tool requires supplementing with the "alternate name" field to work.

    GNG Considered Harmful[edit]

    The mindset that the question of what belongs in an encyclopedia can be boiled down to the five bullet points in WP:GNG, and that these are entirely objective criteria to meet, is a big reason why I don't edit much any longer. Perhaps no subject-specific notability guideline is perfect, but at least they reflect care and thought put into the questions of what deserves mention and how to organize material, rather than vague platitudes. General advice is well and good, but it exists to be overridden when more specialized experience becomes available.

    As an exercise, replay the tape of Wikipedia: imagine that wiki software has just been invented, you want to start a collaborative, general-purpose encyclopedia on such a platform, and you're trying to lay down some community rules. Perhaps you'd settle on some formulation of Our encyclopedia summarizes, without editorializing or drawing new conclusions, the statements made in trustworthy publications, to which we provide pointers. That seems hard to get away from — plenty of other wikis allow new conclusions or speculation, but those aren't suitable for what you want to build. But would it necessarily come to pass that that formulation would be elaborated across multiple separate manual pages, each with their own acronym? V and NOR and NPOV and BLP and NOT... just how inevitable is that division, given how in practice they work synergistically? And you might decide you need some rules, or at least rules-of-thumb, about what topics ought to have articles, but would that necessarily end up separate from your overall Mission and Vision Page? Might you start instead by laying a hard line down against advertising and personal attack pages?

    Our current mess of all-caps abbreviations starts to look rather arbitrary once you take a few weeks away from speaking it. And then you start to wonder how many times in deletion debates you actually needed to refer to the GNG(TM), instead of pointing to the What Wikipedia is not policy and arguing that the subject was indiscriminate trivia.

    shortcuts thinking
    foolish XOR
    turns to drinking

    Unfinished business[edit]

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    Big stuff:

    Smaller stuff:

    Vague stuff:

    Articles for Deletionating[edit]

    Here are various other assorted discussions I took part in — some were kept and some deleted, but I didn't have much of a hand in the article text itself. This list is not exhaustive, only recording those items which I felt at the time I might have reason to refer to later.

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