I joined Wikipedia in 2008, but began regularly editing in 2019. Though I am a chemist, I find myself working on a wide variety of topics. I would consider myself a gnome, but do add content and have started a handful of articles.
Most of my gnoming involves redirects; I create them often, participate frequently at Redirects for discussion to address problematic redirects, and add/update redirect categories. Directly related, I also find myself working on disambiguation issues and performing page moves to achieve consistency in article titles and apply naming conventions. The goal is to get users to the content they seek quickly and for articles to have logical and appropriate titles.
I also propose and perform page merges to combine closely related topics into a larger, more developed article where the added context means the whole is superior to its parts. Except in rare cases, I tend to favor initiating a merge proposal discussion just to check for objections prior to proceeding with a merge, and then closing the discussion myself prior to performing the merge, rather than performing a merge boldly. Merge discussions often have low participation and a large backlog, but I find that the procedures laid out at WP:MERGE are quite logical, if only more users would follow them. Overall, then, I consider myself a mergist; while no doubt there is always plenty of junk around that should be removed from the encyclopedia, I fail to understand users who think the best way to improve the encyclopedia is deletion of anything that they can argue violates their (often questionable) interpretation of some shred of policy. The solution instead is better navigation and organization.
Philosophy & thoughtsEdit
- I believe it's more important for text to be correct than to have citations. If it is verifiable it may not be important to have citations. As such, I oppose deleting text or reverting an edit that is undoubtedly true or likely true solely for lack of citations. Instead, find and add citations! Use of citation needed templates is a pointless exercise. As a corollary, incorrect text should be deleted or corrected, cited or not.
- Understanding the difference between piped links and redirects is one of the most difficult but most important things for a new editor to learn.
- Let's realize and acknowledge that aspects of how Wikipedia functions are counterintuitive. What most people would consider deleting a page is really a page blanking (which should normally be followed by a redirect). Renaming a page requires moving a page. Therefore "Don't bite the newbies" applies not only to those new to Wikipedia in general, but to those new to the many different corners of Wikipedia as well. For example, an editor might be quite experienced when they bring a page to Articles for deletion or Redirects for discussion for the first time, so don't jump on them for bringing what you view as an inappropriate or unnecessary request. Instead share your point of view and let the process work!
- A boldly made blank and redirect followed by a discussion at Redirects for discussion is NOT an acceptable backdoor to deletion, to avoid a discussion at Articles for deletion. Too often, a blank and redirect is done with a poor article to avoid the delays and bureaucracy of AfD, even though there is no good redirect target or the page is not well suited as a redirect, and then ends up at RfD for deletion or retargeting when there originally should have been a discussion at AfD (or such cases are really what proposed deletion is for!). As such, I usually support restoring blanked articles that end up at RfD and sending them to AfD for proper consideration, even if the page blanking and RfD nomination occur years apart.
- Technical move requests are overused and many (most?) requests are potentially controversial and therefore should be discussed via a normal requested move. I urge all page movers and administrators working on technical requests to serve as a check to ensure 'nobody could reasonably disagree with the move' as required. A quick check of the page history for prior moves, or of the redirect that needs to be swapped with the current page to execute the move, would indicate someone (such as the previous mover of the page) could disagree with the move, making it potentially controversial. Given the short incubation time (minutes to hours) for these requests, the lack of notification to the affected page(s) of the impending move, and that it would be unreasonable for interested parties to attempt to watchlist and monitor the technical requests page, it is very difficult to contest these requests before they are executed and we must trust those executing the moves to use judgment and ensure the request is truly uncontroversial. For instance, many requests by less experienced users are brought there after discovering they cannot complete their bold move themselves due to non-trivial history of the redirect in the way, when in fact this is likely an indication that the move they seek is potentially controversial. Page movers should not simply be agents in user's bold moves that they cannot complete themselves, because such moves can only be reverted by page movers and admins.
- Avoid simply reverting edits as disruptive, state why they are disruptive. Edits are not disruptive just because they conflict with your vision for an article! Aside from the talk page, try to reach consensus by compromising with a follow-up edit to incorporate some of the previous edit into the article in a productive way, rather than simply pressing revert (see below).
- It is always best to argue the merits of your position, using well-written and detailed arguments. Do not in any way comment on or negatively characterize another editor themselves. If you believe you are right, convince others that you are, and your position will prevail.
- Too many on Wikipedia have a "I cannot believe you are bothering me with this unnecessary/pointless/unimportant proposed change" attitude in discussions, or worse, in reversions. Consistent with the above, be civil and argue the merits of your point of view, or if you cannot manage that, ignore the discussion and stay out of it! Nobody is making you be here! Go back to editing and discussing what you think is important and let others do the same. Even if an idea is indeed "wrong" one should assume it was put forward in good faith. Even if the discussion is about some technicality, like deciding to move an article to one of its redirects, let consensus be reached by those who actually care enough to decide upon the best course of action. We are supposed to care about things like what is the best name for an article.
- While typically derided in discussions, an "other stuff exists" argument is actually more often quite on point, because in building an encyclopedia we must strive for consistency and logical organization. Sometimes though, it is the "other stuff" that must be fixed, but unfortunately many editors argue vehemently to maintain the status quo because in their view it is too much effort to do things right.
"People are going to want to see this"Edit
Inspired by a joke by comedian Bob Marley regarding the Anthony Weiner sexting scandals, I refer here to the common urge within editors, including myself(!), to add a new bit of information that they find particularly interesting to an article. The problem is that all too often editors add this new information without due regard for how it fits into the rest of the article, often throwing it in as a single-sentence paragraph, at times in an inappropriate section. In my opinion, this phenomenon is a much more significant cause of disjointed, poorly constructed articles than is proseline.
I encourage everyone to carefully incorporate new bits of content into the existing structure of the article, which probably means adding it to an existing paragraph in a manner that adds to rather than detracts from the message of the paragraph. That said, some of the most helpful edits can be those that rearrange scattered one-sentence bits of information into cohesive, flowing paragraphs. Thus, when someone has displayed the symptoms of this syndrome, do not simply revert their addition as a disruptive edit, try to weave the added information into the article if it does add to the article.
Articles I've startedEdit
- Water conditioner
- List of trauma centers in the United States
- Chiafalo v. Washington
- List of fatal accidents and incidents involving commercial aircraft in the United States
- America the Beautiful Pass
- List of fee areas in the United States National Park System
- Ecola State Park
- Indiana Uplands AVA
- Willcox AVA
- Neptune Odyssey
- .44 caliber
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