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Mistaken edits - IMPORTANTEdit

If I've reverted someone's edits for no apparent reason, please see the top of my Talk page - thanks. --A bit iffy (talk) 08:12, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

About meEdit

I live in Brighton, England. I don't want to say what my name is, how old I am, what I do, where I'm originally from etc. If you're really, really clever, you can work most of this out by looking for patterns in my edits.


Almost always it's best to contact me via my Talk page. If for some reason you need to contact me privately, email me at:

  • abitiffy
  • at
  • inbox dot com

Twitter: @abitiffy_wiki

International travelsEdit

Spent years:    
To go some day:        
Idea and layout half-inched from User:Calton, who filched it from User:Salsb, who stole it from User:Guettarda, who borrowed it from User:White Cat
   This user is a citizen of the
European Union


(i.e. disclosure)

  • A bit iffy is my second Wikipedia account. I used to use Finbarr Saunders, but came to dislike the name.


My approach to WikipediaEdit

Monastery of St. Nilov c.1910, by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii
  • Why do I really contribute to Wikipedia? I can't stand seeing defective writing anywhere and I have a (worryingly compulsive) need to fix things. Often, these faults are just minor ones, so I suppose I should class myself as a WikiGnome. I wonder if I'm spending too much time doing this: when I see faulty web page outside Wikipedia I go to the top of the page to try to click on the "edit" link...
  • I suppose I'm a deletionist, but with intermittent doubts. Fancruft just plain irritates me, but as it's almost always about subjects I have no interest in like games and science fiction TV series that I've never heard of, I rarely dare touch them. (Hmmm...having just written that, I wonder if I'm being unfair: do I think "fancruft" = "anything I'm not interested in"?) Anyway, I've deletionist tendencies because I don't like to see the goal of the Wikipedia project undermined by being composed of 95% poorly-written junk which is what will happen if non-notable subjects and excessive detail is allowed to flourish.
  • Wikipedia is just an encyclopaedia - a tool for learning stuff. It's not a religion.

Things I really hate about WikipediaEdit

Lítla Dímun, the only uninhabited island of the Faroes
Scène de Juillet 1830 (also: Les Drapeaux) by Léon Cogniet


  • It's slow. I don't know whether the servers are slow, or there aren't enough of them, or there isn't enough bandwidth from WikiMedia's service provider, or the database indexes and/or SQL need attention. This slowness is the one thing that puts me off contributing more. I just want something done about it, and I'd be willing to put my hand in my pocket to help. It's now a lot faster — excellent work, whoever's responsible.
  • Instruction creep. The overly long instruction pages actually put me off from following accepted conventions. It just takes so long sometimes to find out how to do things correctly. Even though you sometimes see references to m:Instruction creep in those pages, they still keep growing. The results are that either (a) I go against the rules, or (b) I just don't bother fixing things that I know are wrong.
  • Vandalism. To be honest, I used to find it fun to hunt for and squash vandalism. It's great that the intelligent design of this project means it's usually as easy to undo vandalism as it is to do it in the first place. (If only physical vandalism in real life were as easy to rectify.) However, vandalism is now really annoying me; it's absurd that a large part of people's editing time is taken up with countering it. As maybe 99% of vandalism is from anonymous IP addresses, I now believe all posting should be from registered users. I think some of the proposals in anonymous users should not be allowed to edit are extreme: such proposals undermine the whole point of the project. Allowing people to remain anonymous behind a nickname is fine - in fact, absolutely necessary as many people may not wish to be publicly identified (I certainly don't). Generally I do like the approach of User:Anastrophe-wikipedia, though I don't see the necessity for even requiring an e-mail address. The basic principles should be:
    • New users must have a relatively pain-free experience—both in signing up, and in making initial postings.
    • A campaign of vandalism must be a painful experience for the vandal.
       This user is a member of the
      Counter-Vandalism Unit.
  • Edit conflicts. These drive me up the wall as I am a slow thinker and typist. It's so annoying when updating a rapidly-changing page to find my changes didn't go through, and then having to work out what the other person did before I can try again. It's especially annoying when I get an edit conflict with a vandal. However, I do understand there are valid reasons to have some sort of locking mechanism in place, and it looks like Wikipedia have some workarounds: Help:Edit conflict.

Things about Wikipedia that irritate meEdit

Windbeeches in the Black Forest
  • Excessive linking. OK, I do a fair amount myself, but is it really necessary to disrupt the legibility by linking every other word? Links should only be made to things that are directly relevant to the article concerned. Probably there's a policy or guideline somewhere that says this, but I can't be arsed to hunt for it. And what's with this thing about making links of dates? OK, it's reasonable to Wikify a date such as 1 January so that it gets formatted to the user's preferred style, but why does it have to end up as a link? Couldn't some other mechanism be devised? And with years, e.g. 1956, I see very little point in making links of those. I think it's unlikely that users, on reading that someone was born in 1956, would then want to go to the 1956 article.
    • Further to this, I find this morning 15 October 2005 that links are no longer underlined. Did I inadvertently change something in my preferences? Or has someone decided to make the change for all users? Whichever, it's excellent. Things are a whole lot more readable now.
  • Overflowing boxes. If an image is taller than the section it's in, it often flows down to the next section, either obscuring or realigning text. Similar things happen with infoboxes. I've not figured out exactly what's going on, so I'm not sure whether it's a fault of the contributors to the page, or whether there's something more basic wrong with the way Wiki software is rendering Wiki mark-up into HTML.
  • Non-use of edit summaries. Users that don't provide edit summaries are especially irritating when I'm trying to track down who made a particular edit some time ago. And users that don't give a reason in the edit summary are also annoying: it's not enough to say WHAT you've done; you should say WHY you've done it. So saying "Removed link" in an edit summary is little better than saying nothing at all. Far better to say "Removed irrelevant link," and we would all know why you've done it.
  • Editors that miss the point of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is not an end in itself, it's just (as I've said somewhere else) an encyclopaedia, a tool for learning stuff. Today I've come across the latest lunacy: a notice on an article — in this case, Caroline Flint — telling you that the article hasn't got a photo. What's the point of that??? You can SEE the article hasn't got a photo!!! Not so long ago, a few editors were putting large banners on the tops of articles saying that the articles lacked geographical co-ordinates (the small, unobtrusive latitude and longitude that go at the top right of such articles). Why slap the casual reader in the face with that big banner when they're only trying to look up something on a small town in Poland?

About talk pagesEdit

Henry Moore sculpture

Talk pages aren't articles, but are discussions about articles. Hence, in my opinion, they should use tools better suited to dialogues such as the PHP bulletin board software widely used elsewhere on the internet. (I am borrowing this idea from some other Wikipedia user, but I can't remember who it was.) Using the tools intended for articles results in discussions that can be difficult to follow. Also, I have recently seen a case where a talk page had been edited to undermine other contributors' positions.

Favourite articlesEdit

People collecting remains of the West Pier in Brighton soon after it had largely collapsed.
I love this picture (by Briantist): it gives a real sense of what it was like on the beach at the time (even though I picked up my souvenir the following morning).

Not articles that I've contributed to, but ones that I've found that delightful, informative or a surprise in some way.

Articles I've startedEdit

Photos I've uploadedEdit

See /Photos subpage.

To doEdit

Russian peasant women c.1910, by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

Ten random articlesEdit

Taking my lead from User:Rebecca's The 10 Random Pages Test, I decided to click the Random article link ten times to get ten random articles. I'll keep an eye on them, and try to maintain them. This is intended to be a personal experiment to capture my thought processes during article maintenance.

The articles are Salisbury Cathedral, Mioko Fujiwara, Legend of the Five Rings, Carlstadt Public Schools, Gressenhall, Adam Holloway, Foreign relations of Azerbaijan, Oranienburger Straße, Mazatec shamans, and Bo Bo's Chicken.

My reactions and progress are in this sub-page.



A sandbox
 This user was a member of the inactive League of Copyeditors.

Licensing etc.Edit

I agree to multi-license all my text contributions, with the exception of my user pages, as described below:

  Multi-licensed with any Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License  
I agree to multi-license my text contributions, unless otherwise stated, under Wikipedia's copyright terms and the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license draft version 1.0 and version 2.0 and the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike license version 2.0. Please be aware that other contributors might not do the same, so if you want to use my contributions under the Creative Commons terms, please check the CC dual-license and Multi-licensing guides.

The Saturn V SA-506 carrying Apollo 11, the first crewed lunar landing mission, on July 16, 1969, at 13:32 UTC. Launching from Launch Pad 39A at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, the five Rocketdyne F-1 engines of the rocket's S-IC first stage can be seen arrayed in a quincunx, with a fixed center engine and four outer engines that gimballed for steering.

A multistage liquid-fuel expendable launcher, the Saturn V was designed under the direction of Wernher von Braun at the Marshall Space Flight Center. It was the largest production model of the Saturn family, with a height of 111 m (363 ft), although larger models were theorized. The super heavy-lift launch vehicle consisted of liquid-propellant rockets in three stages, the first of which had a total mass at launch of 2.3 million kilograms (5.1 million pounds), consisting mostly of its RP-1 fuel and liquid oxygen. As well as launching Apollo missions, the Saturn V also launched the Skylab space station. Thirteen rockets were launched from 1967 to 1973, with an almost perfect launch record – Apollo 6 and Apollo 13 did lose engines, but the onboard computers were able to compensate.Photograph credit: NASA; retouched by PawełMM