My main contributions to Wikipedia are articles on elections, referendums, political parties and politicians, focusing on countries outside the main Anglosphere. I also dabble in football (particularly non-League football) and have previously created large numbers of articles on places in Israel and Suffolk.

The main reason I edit Wikipedia is a belief that every person on the planet has the right to access the accumulated knowledge of humanity. Giving people access to this knowledge allows them to make informed decisions – one only has to look at how desperate repressive countries like North Korea are to stop their citizens finding out the truth to see how important it is. The even sadder thing is that access to the facts from a neutral, reliable and trusted source is needed more than ever in the "free" world. Several years ago I wrote that the 2011 AV referendum in the UK was a prime example of deliberate misinformation by parties and the majority of the media. Sadly, since then things have got far worse, and not just in the UK.

Many of the articles I write (particularly recently) are ones on which there is little online information, and are on topics that I feel are sufficiently important that the information should be available more widely (elections, for instance, are a key part of a nation's history). I should note my thanks to Wikimedia UK, who provided me with a grant to purchase Elections in Europe: A data handbook, from which I have written and improved several hundred articles.

And, of course, I edit Wikipedia because I am interested in the topics themselves, and enjoy the research and reading required to write the articles.

Did you know

A few articles I created (or in one or two cases, merely contributed to) have been selected for DYK:

  1. ... that Pinchas Rosen, Israel's first Minister of Justice, served in the German army during World War I?
  2. ... that the Alignment is the only political party in Israel ever to have held a majority of seats in the Knesset?
  3. ... that Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit was the only signatory of the Israeli declaration of independence to have been born in the Land of Israel?
  4. ... that the 1951 Gold Coast legislative election was the first to be held in Africa under universal suffrage?
  5. ... that the 1967 general election in Sierra Leone saw the first defeat of a ruling party in an election held under universal suffrage in sub-Saharan Africa?
  6. ... that the Bedouin villagers of al-Sayyid developed their own form of sign language in response to the high rate of deafness amongst their tribe?
  7. ... that the 1966-68 Liga Leumit season was played over two years in an effort to rid Israeli football of corruption and violence, which included riots on the field?
  8. ... that Mishmar David was the first kibbutz to be privatised?
  9. ... that Hapoel Tayibe was the first ever Arab football club to play in the top division in Israel?
  10. ... that Hussniya Jabara was the first Israeli Arab woman to be elected to the Knesset?
  11. ... that Gershom Schocken was the editor of Haaretz for over 50 years?
  12. ... that Abd el-Aziz el-Zoubi was the first non-Jewish member of an Israeli government?
  13. ... that Shmuel Flatto-Sharon successfully ran for election to the Knesset to avoid extradition to France, where he was wanted for embezzlement?
  14. ... that Shmuel Rechtman was the first member of the Knesset to be sent to prison?
  15. ... that Israeli politician and settlement activist Gershon Shafat spent ten months as a Jordanian prisoner of war?
  16. ... that at just 85 days in office, the sixteenth government of Israel was the shortest-lived in the country's history?
  17. ... that the twenty-ninth government of Israel was the first to have a non-Jewish minister?
  18. ... that Edward Francis Small was the first Gambian to be elected to the country's legislative council?
  19. ... that voter turnout for the 2001 judicial reform referendum in Botswana was just 4.9%?
  20. ... that the 1957 election in Zanzibar was the first election to be held in East Africa?
  21. ... that in the 1970 presidential election in DR Congo, Joseph Mobuto received more votes than the number of registered voters?
  22. ... that Guinea was the only French colony to reject the 1958 constititution in a referendum, thereby opting for independence?
  23. ... that the 1927 presidential election in Liberia made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most fraudulent ever?
  24. ... that following a referendum in 1984, Liechtenstein became the last country in Europe to grant women the right to vote?
  25. ... that it took a replay and then eighty minutes of extra time for Brighton & Hove Albion reserves to win the 1920–21 Southern League title?
  26. ... that the 2002 Costa Rican presidential election was the first in the country's history to go to a second round?
  27. ... that by making her debut in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup at the age of 16, Cecilia Santiago became the youngest-ever goalkeeper to appear in a World Cup?
  28. ... that Japanese international footballer Aya Sameshima worked at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants prior to the disaster there?
  29. ... that Eynesbury Rovers are the most westerly football club ever to play in the Eastern Counties League?
  30. ... that following opposition calls for a boycott, voter turnout in the 1983 general elections in Jamaica was just 2.7%?
  31. ... that the electoral system for the 1883 elections in Egypt was said to have been based on the design of a pyramid?
  32. ... that the 2011 Micronesian parliamentary elections were the first to feature female candidates?
  33. ... that Pike's Lane was the venue of the first-ever goal scored in league football?
  34. ... that despite receiving the most votes in the 1959 elections, the Dahomeyan Democratic Union emerged as the smallest of the three parties in the Territorial Assembly?
  35. ... that Eric Lawson was the first directly elected MP in the Solomon Islands?
  36. ... that the 1984 status referendum in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands has been described as the "smallest act of self-determination ever conducted"?
  37. ... that the 1970 general elections in Montserrat saw Percival Austin Bramble's Progressive Democratic Party defeat the ruling Montserrat Labour Party, led by his father William Henry Bramble?
  38. ... that the original version of the Massey Ferguson 35 released in the UK was known as the "Gold Belly" due to its distinctive colour scheme?
  39. ... that New Logie Green is the only stadium outside Glasgow to have hosted a Scottish Cup final?
  40. ... that the first-ever goal in the Scottish Football League was scored at the original Celtic Park?
  41. ... that Ipswich Town goalkeeper Paul Cooper saved eight out of the ten penalties he faced during the 1979–80 season?
  42. ... that Chris Marron jointly holds the record for the most goals scored in an FA Cup match, having scored 10 in one game?
  43. ... that the footballer Robin Turner scored twice on his home debut for Swansea City, equalling the number of league goals he scored for former club Ipswich Town in nine seasons?

Other potential DYKs

A few other interesting articles created after I stopped having the patience to go through the DYK process, but still worth noting:

  1. ... that John Maynard Hedstrom, Robert Crompton, Henry Marks and Henry Milne Scott were known as the 'big four' andt heavily influenced the Fijian economy and political sphere in the first half of the 20th century?
  2. ... that alongside Irene Jai Narayan and Losalini Raravuya Dovi, Loloma Livingston was one of the first female members of the Legislative Council of Fiji?
  3. ... that Doris Booth was the first female member of the Legislative Council of Papua and New Guinea?
  4. ... that Percy Morgan was the only member of the constitutional convention not to sign the new constitution of Western Samoa?
  5. ... that Savenaca Tamaibeka was a member of Fiji's first-ever international rugby union team and scored a try "with three opponents hanging on to him"?
  6. ... that Arno Max Gurau was described as "the only Jew in Western Samoa"?
  7. ... that Molitoni Finau was Tonga's longest-serving MP, holding office for over 40 years?
  8. ... that Alfred Clarke Turnbull served as 'Acting' Administrator of Western Samoa for eight years before his post was made permanent?
  9. ... that the 1935 Gold Coast legislative election had to be re-run in Accra due to the "undue influence of gong-gong beating" in the initial vote?
  10. ... that Charlene Warren-Peu is the first woman to be elected head of government in the Pitcairn Islands?
  11. ... that William Groves was the youngest-ever sergeant in the Australian military?
  12. ... that the candidacy of Arthur Young in the 1891 Cypriot legislative election caused significant controversy, and efforts to prevent him winning led to the results being partially annulled?
  13. ... that Dick Charles Brown was the first Leader of Government Business of the Cook Islands?
  14. ... that Faimaala Filipo was the first female MP in Samoa?
  15. ... that Afoafouvale Misimoa was the first Pacific Islander to head the Pacific Community?
  16. ... that Eugene Paul was the first Leader of Government Business of Western Samoa?
  17. ... that Kubra Noorzai was the first woman to serve as a government minister in Afghanistan?
  18. ... that Tararo Jane Ariki was the first female member of the Legislative Council of the Cook Islands?
  19. ... that Aziza Gardizi and Homeira Seljuqi were the first two female Senators in Afghanistan?
  20. ... that Vilasini Menon was the first woman elected to national office in Singapore?
  21. ... that Silas Sitai was the first Solomon Islander to become Speaker of the islands' legislature?
  22. ... that the coastwatcher Paul Mason was described as representing "the upper limit of continuous bravery" during World War II?
  23. ... that Carmen Bigler was the first and only woman to be elected to the Congress of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands?
  24. ... that Ulai Otobed was the first Micronesian woman to become a doctor?
  25. ... that Robert Munro was the first President of the Senate of Fiji?
  26. ... that Matthias Toliman was the first Leader of the Opposition in Papua New Guinea?
  27. ... that Anaseini Qionibaravi was the first female member of the Senate of Fiji?
  28. ... that Tuiaana Tuimaleali'ifano Suatipatipa II was the only member of the Council of Deputies for most of the period between 1962 and his death in 1974?
  29. ... that Iman Khatib-Yasin was the first hijab-wearing woman elected to the Knesset in Israel?
  30. ... that Mimmi Kanervo, Liisi Kivioja, Sandra Lehtinen, Dagmar Neovius, Alli Nissinen, Maria Paaso-Laine, Hilma Räsänen, Maria Raunio and Jenny Upari were among the women elected to parliament in Finland in 1907, becoming the first elected female parliamentarians in the world?
  31. ... that Austin Bernicke was the first Nauruan to attend university?
  32. ... that Francis Aqorau was the first Solomon Islander to earn a university degree?
  33. ... that Ngatupuna Matepi was the first official Leader of the Opposition in the Cook Islands?
  34. ... that Reuben Uatioa was the first Leader of Government Business in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands?
  35. ... that Julian Toganivalu was the first Fijian to attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst?
  36. ... that Fred Archibald often used his certificate of sanity during debates in the Legislative Council of Fiji to challenge other MLCs?
  37. ... that Oala Oala-Rarua was the first Lord Mayor of Port Moresby?
  38. ... that Tofa Siaosi was the youngest-ever MP and minister in Western Samoa at the time he was elected and later appointed to the cabinet?
  39. ... that New Hebridean MP Alexis Yolou was killed during a rebellion on Tanna island?
  40. ... that Wilson Inia was the first Rotuman representative in the Senate of Fiji?
  41. ... that Dwight Heine was the first Micronesian to earn a college degree?
  42. ... that Roger Laroque served as mayor of Nouméa for 33 years?
  43. ... that Naboua Ratieta was the first Chief Minister of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands?
  44. ... that Meli Loki was the first Fijian announcer for the FBC and built the biggest bure in Fiji?
  45. ... that brothers Ivan and Claude Champion were appointed to the Legislative Council of Papua and New Guinea in 1951, having earlier been discouraged from joining the civil service by their father, who feared being accused of nepotism?
  46. ... that Ester Banda, Margret Mbeba and Nakatindi Yeta Nganga were the first women elected to parliament in Zambia?
  47. ... that Leota Leuluaiali'i Ituau Ale was dismissed from the Legislative Assembly of Samoa for fathering a child with a mistress?
  48. ... that Lapati Paka and Patricia Rex were the first two women elected to the Niue Assembly, and Rex was the designer of the Flag of Niue?
  49. ... that Mary Gilu was the first indigenous woman elected to the Representative Assembly in Vanuatu?
  50. ... that Hanna Sahlfeld-Singer was among the first group of women elected to parliament in Switzerland, and the first sitting member to give birth?
  51. ... that Halimahton Abdul Majid was the only female candidate in the 1955 Malayan general election and became the first Malaysian woman elected to parliament?
  52. ... that Emilienne Rochecouste was the first woman elected to the Legislative Council in Mauritius despite her party being opposed to women's suffrage?
  53. ... that Ayla Halit Kazım was the first female parliamentarian in Cyprus, but never received her MP's salary?
  54. ... that Agnes Terei was the first woman to be appointed to the Advisory Council of the New Hebrides?
  55. ... that Emma Eigenmann was the first woman elected to the Landtag of Liechtenstein?
  56. ... that although women could not vote in the 1938 Surinamese general election, Grace Schneiders-Howard was elected and became Suriname's first female parliamentarian?
  57. ... that Muriel Hanschell was the first female member of the Parliament of Barbados?
  58. ... that Liri Gega was the only woman amongst the founders of the Communist Party of Albania and was later one of the first group of women elected to parliament?
  59. ... that Naxhije Dume was the first woman to be appointed as a government minister in Albania?
  60. ... that Bertha Higgins was appointed to the West Indies Federal Senate in 1958, becoming the first female legislator from Antigua and Barbuda?
  61. ... that Emogene Creque was the first woman to become a member of the Legislative Council of the British Virgin Islands?
  62. ... that Dorcas Idowu was the first woman appointed to a legislature in what is now Cameroon, while Julienne Keutcha was the first woman elected to parliament in the country?
  63. ... that Ellen Mills Scarbrough was the first woman elected to the Legislature in Liberia?
  64. ... that Hiranyamayee Lama was the first woman elected to parliament in Bhutan?
  65. ... that Marthe Matongo was the first woman elected to parliament in the Central African Republic?
  66. ... that Cornelia Razoux Schultz-Metzer was the first female legislator in Indonesia?
  67. ... that Margaret Rose Kelsick was the first woman elected to the Legislative Council in Montserrat?
  68. ... that Madge Biggs was the first woman appointed to the Legislative Council of the Falklands, and Marjorie Vinson was the first woman elected to the Legislative Council?
  69. ... that Maria Irausquin-Wajcberg was the first woman elected to the Island Council in Aruba?
  70. ... that Angela Altagracia de Lannoy-Willems was the first woman elected to the Estates of the Netherlands Antilles?
  71. ... that Céline Oopa was the first woman elected to the Territorial Assembly of French Polynesia?
  72. ... that Marie Randall was the first woman elected to the States of Guernsey?
  73. ... that Joséphine Hundt was the first woman elected to parliament in Togo?
  74. ... that Eva Sylvester was the first woman elected to the Legislative Council in Grenada?
  75. ... that Mele Siuʻilikutapu was the first woman elected to parliament in Tonga?
  76. ... that Hsieh Er and Lin Shen were the first two women elected to parliament from Taiwan?
  77. ... that Ivy Forster avoided deportation from Jersey by the Nazi authorities after a doctor pretended that she was suffering from tuberculosis, and later became the first woman elected to the States?
  78. ... that Iris Collins was the first woman elected to parliament in Jamaica?
  79. ... that Elise Rasoamampionona was the first woman elected to parliament in Madagascar and later became the country's first female minister?
  80. ... that Roxane Noat-Notari was the first woman elected to parliament in Monaco?
  81. ... that Anna Sychravová was the only woman elected to parliament from Slovakia in the 1920 Czechoslovak parliamentary election?
  82. ... that Hnin Mya was the first woman elected to the Legislative Council in Burma?
  83. ... that Rosa Castañeda de Mora was the first woman elected to Congress in Guatemala?
  84. ... that Cynthia Torres and Lagrimas Untalan were the first women elected to the Legislature of Guam?
  85. ... that Latifa Bennani-Smires and Badia Skalli were the first women elected to parliament in Morocco?
  86. ... that Thelma Brown and Carol Warren were the first women elected to the Island Council in Pitcairn?
  87. ... that Alice Boase and Barbara Saben were the first women appointed to the Legislative Council of Uganda?
  88. ... that Virginie Ambougou and Antoinette Tsono were the first women elected to parliament in Gabon?
  89. ... that Jessie Burnham, one of the first women in parliament in Guyana, published a booklet warning voters to beware her brother, Prime Minister Forbes Burnham?
  90. ... that Bienvenida de Sánchez and Dolores de Miño were the first women elected to Congress in Paraguay?
  91. ... that Louise Yim was the first woman elected to parliament in South Korea?
  92. ... that Mary Mdziniso was the first woman to become a member of parliament in Eswatini when she was appointed to the Senate in 1968, while Lomasontfo Dludlu was the first woman elected to parliament in the country in 1993?
  93. ... that Carmen Meléndez de Cálix, Carmen Griffin de Lefreve and Herlinda Blanco de Bonilla were the first women elected to parliament in Honduras?
  94. ... that Anna von Gierke, one of the first women elected to parliament in Germany, was deselected by her party prior to the 1920 elections due to her Jewish background?
  95. ... that Hwang Shin-duk, Park Hyun-sook, Park Seung-ho and Shin Eui-kyung were the first female legislators in South Korea?

Problems with Wikipedia

Despite my beliefs about Wikipedia's role in providing neutral and reliable information, there are several areas that concern me. Due to a lack of will by admins early in Wikipedia's history, the issue of nationalist editors has never really been dealt with. There are several areas of the project which are almost no-go areas for outside/neutral editors, and many false consensuses have been built up by small groups of editors (usually around five people, which is sufficient to block progress on any attempt at outside involvement (the fatal flaw of the WP:RFC process being that it is not limited to outside editors). The areas I have come across which are particularly problematic are:

  • Estonia - attempts to revise history by denying the fact that Estonia was part of the Russian Empire or USSR. This usually manifests itself in insisting that country of birth is listed as Estonia in years when the country was not independent.
  • Ireland/Northern Ireland - a key example being the de facto banning of the phrase "Northern Irish" to describe people from Northern Ireland and (similar to the Estonia situation) the refusal to accept that Ireland was part of the UK prior to 1921. As well as the issue over birth places, one particularly stupid example I came across whilst working on election articles was Irish general election, 1918 - an election to the UK parliament that convention dictates should be United Kingdom general election, 1918 (Ireland). Unsurprisingly, a requested move was blocked more than once.
  • Israel/Palestine - several years ago the major problem was Israeli bias (refusal to acknowledge that settlements were considered illegal by international law etc), but the pendulum has swung the other way in recent years. Major problems include the refusal to even allow the phrase "Israeli Arabs" in the introduction of the article about those people (despite it being the common name - and those editors that call for the use of the "neutral" phrase "Arab citizens of Israel" are now attempting to sneak "Palestinian Arabs" into articles instead) and attempts to replace "Palestinian Territories" with "Palestine" despite the state not yet existing.

Whilst I have given up on these issues being resolved, the problem still bothers me.

Barnstars

Notes