It appears that I exist around here again.

I edited Wikipedia pretty heavily for about a year when I was in college. Then it stopped being as much fun, so I stopped for a good four years or so.

Now I kinda want to do this again, so I'm back.

Resolutions for this time aroundEdit

  1. It's a hobby. Don't make it hard work.
  2. Don't worry about trying for scholarly quality. Try for "good encyclopedia article" and stop there.
  3. The endless petty disputes here aren't fun or useful. If you can't entirely resist them, at least only dip a toe in.

A goal for nowEdit

They lived through these times of acute social disturbance, and we did not. Their aspirations were valid in terms of their own experience, and, if they were casualties of history, they remain, condemned in their own lives, as casualties." --E.P. Thompson

The preface to Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class is an immeasurably better statement on how to write history than anything I will ever produce, so I won't attempt to match it. I'm not here to write serious academic history; I'm mostly here to write about ancient Greek wars, because they're fun, they're full of good stories, they're miles away from the stuff I write about for my job, and people do like to look them up sometimes. That said, I do hope to incorporate a bit of Thompson's crucial insight into my writing.

Thompson understood that the vast sweeping epic that is our history is composed primarily of the actions and aspirations of countless individuals whose names, beliefs, and actions are lost entirely to our records--just as most of ours will someday be to future historians. Only the best historians ever manage to capture the way in which those people's ordinary and extraordinary actions aggregate into the vast arc of our collective past (and it requires more than a bit of original research). The rest of us can, however take the opportunity when it arises to note how the big stories we tell affected the lives they lived. I hope to do that as best I can with what I write.