I joined Wikipedia in November 2002, following an outage at my previous outlet for writing: h2g2. I rapidly realised that Wikipedia's system corrected problems that were preventing h2g2 from achieving its stated goal, and moved over quite quickly. Initially I copied across content I'd written for h2g2, such as articles on Luke Rhinehart and gender-neutral pronouns, before branching out into other areas, notably around gender and religion. I also spent time trying to broker agreements on the never-ending Israel vs Palestine edit war, and other contentious subjects.
Over time I became involved with policy discussions, became an administrator, and was appointed as an arbitrator in 2004. I'm glad that some of the policy elements I introduced or championed have become healthy and productive parts of Wikipedia. These include:
- Introducing and awarding the first barnstar. These and similar awards help to motivate contributors in a positive way.
- Introducing or promoting a variety of on-page disclaimers. These help reduce the perceived urgency of problems, thus reducing social stress and heated arguments.
- Introducing the three revert rule (here). This helps limit the maximum damage that can be inflicted by edit wars, and promotes co-operation amongst contributors.
Of course, in doing so I contributed to the ongoing problem of instruction creep, so it wasn't all positive.
I left around February 2005, though I have made occasional edits since then. I am thankful for the things I've learnt from Wikipedia, both factual and social. I am glad I was part of something that is now so useful to so many people. I regret those problems with Wikipedia that still persist, and hope they will be resolved.
What's this? Some sort of star, it seems... Well, I see that people are giving them out to useful Wikipedians, but you don't seem to have one, and if anyone deserves a star for good deeds (keeping Wikipedia running smoothly and all that), you do, so here you go. -- Oliver P. 09:22, 11 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I award you this barnstar for saying exactly the right thing to a departing Wikipedian. UninvitedCompany 14:27, 23 May 2004 (UTC)
For inventing the barnstar (my most popular act - summarized here):
- NIRVANA2764 22:33, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
- Altenhofen 17:19, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
- Soccer5525 19:08, 31 March 2009 (UTC)
- Mocha2007 16:13, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
- AaronY 03:22, 15 December 2010 (UTC)