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Old 02-12-2019, 06:20 PM
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Do You Edit on Wikipedia?


I know many academics hate it (and I understand why) but I like it... But, it's only good if people participate with honesty. A few years ago, some computer genius found out that a vast majority of edits are made by Big Corporations. They know how important information is.

If you do see a mistake (factual or actual), do you correct it? I do, but usually wait until I find good sources.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:05 PM
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Very occasionally, but mostly minor punctuation errors or clarity issues.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MortSahlFan View Post
... A few years ago, some computer genius found out that a vast majority of edits are made by Big Corporations. They know how important information is.
Just curious if you have a cite for this? It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest but I'd like to know how well supported the claim actually is.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:23 PM
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I tried to do it once, stepped on the toes of a hyper-possessive page "editor", and decided fuck it, not worth my time.

I was updating the track listing of an early 80s album, adding in 2 bonus tracks that appeared only on the cassette version, not on the vinyl. My additions were almost immediately reversed. Put it in again, and it was reversed with a "needs citation". My cite was I had the cassette in my hand, so I scanned the cassette insert and uploaded it to the talk page, and made the edit a third and final time. It was still backed out with a complaint about formatting. At that point I walked away. About a month later I saw the original page "owner", who had been reversing my changes, had added the same information with no cites.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:34 PM
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I remove apostrophes from plurals, and things like that. Never changed any actual content.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:37 PM
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Occasionally I change something that looks blatantly wrong, but I just gave up my regular editing projects because there are too many a--hole rule enforcers out there who wreck your stuff.

For example, there are articles for each of the local commuter train stations near my city. One of the features was each article had a list of connecting bus lines. The lists had fallen out of date, so I went on a big project correcting them. The lists of bus lines were inserted using a macro. (I did not write the macro, it was there before me.) Then one day I looked and saw that all of the articles had become jumbled and unreadable. I tried to figure out why. Well, I found a year-long debate about the macro. Some idiot who contributed nothing to the articles ever had noticed the macro and decided it violated a rule. After a year of tedious argument, a group of editors agreed to change the macro. It totally broke all of the train station articles.

This was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. No, I didn't want to get involved in a year-long debate or take a graduate course in the epistemology of wiki standards. I just gave up. I never look at those articles again.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:20 PM
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Not anymore. Even if you have multiple citations for your addition, it'll get deleted. So I quit bothering.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:15 PM
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I've only done so once, on an article on a rather obscure vehicle model.

::goes and looks::

It hasn't been messed with, and that edit was done in March of 2017.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:51 PM
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Not as much as I used to. It gets frustrating when you correct something that seems harmless, that you know is accurate, or is largely superficial, but it gets changed back by some weirdo with a petty agenda anyway.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:03 PM
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I used to spend a lot more time editing wikipedia articles. I don't have much time for it these days.

I wrote these articles, which have remained mostly intact:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailey_machine_gun
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agar_gun
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confed...volving_Cannon
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marin_le_Bourgeoys
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joslyn_rifle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Model_1869
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_model_1871
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Model_1875
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Model_1877
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_model_1880
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Model_1882
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_model_1884

I occasionally edit technical articles, but finding errors or omissions in those is much rarer for me. I did make some pretty heavy edits to this one, and it has remained mostly intact since then:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ufer_ground

I also wrote these articles, which have been heavily edited since (and I'm happy with that, they are good edits):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat-race_coupler
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_tee

On a completely unrelated subject, I also wrote an article about Tomahawk Rights, which ended up getting folded into the article about Cabin Rights.

I've also made close to a thousand edits on other articles. Many of them are minor edits, but quite a few were fairly substantial, especially articles about older firearms. In the past few years though, I have only made a handful of edits.

I don't make grammar or spelling changes. You probably wouldn't want me to anyway. I'm an engineer, and engineers are notorious for bad grammar and spelling.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:05 PM
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Occasionally, but like the others, my interest has been sapped by asshats with much more time on their hands than knowledge of the subject. Topper for me was having an article reverted to flat-out wrongness because my citation of the actual court decision was considered "original research," and thus not an allowed source.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:34 PM
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Mostly do basic fixes - spelling/grammar fixes, vandalism fixes, removing redlinks, or links that redirect back to the same article, or moving links to the intended article rather than a similarly named one, or changing things from 'upcoming' after they've actually come out, that sort of thing.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:47 PM
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My magnum opus of contributing to world knowledge, this sentence in the description of the cartoon character Vitalstatistix, about the real life origin of his "we have nothing to fear but the sky falling on our heads" catchline:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...Vitalstatistix
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:53 PM
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When I have spare time, yes, I edit on wikipedia a lot. I've never had the experience of constant reverts to my edits that others are commenting on. I think it depends a lot on the topics that you're editing.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:54 PM
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I used to be a regular on Wikipedia, until the politics wore me down. I rarely go there any more.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:22 AM
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I've made a bunch of minor edits (broken links and such) here and there. The only significant contribution I've made is that I greatly expanded the article for Dr. Joseph D. Bryant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_D._Bryant). On most days I read the news from 100 years ago today, and when I saw his obituary a few years ago I was disappointed to find that his Wikipedia entry was just a single sentence and I thought he deserved better. The revised article even appeared in the "Did you know..." box on the main page at the time.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:39 AM
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A few times, though not often. The one that I remember was discovering that some yahoo had edited the entry for Steve Watson (wide receiver for the Denver Broncos in the 1980s) to indicate that he was a video-game artist.

I just looked at the edit history for that article -- good lord, that was 2007.
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:34 AM
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I did once for the ad&d pc stronghold game ..I just added some stuff like ..it did appear on cdroms and expanded what it was about


it was a cross between sim city and majesty …….
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:19 AM
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I think I had made three changes (adding a little information, adding cites) and two were reverted quickly before I said "Fuck it". I think my third one is still alive though since 2008 (?)
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:41 AM
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Like the others: did some editing, got reverted too many times, got sick of the whole thing. I still try to fix up grammar and references occasionally, but I avoid subjects I know and understand.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:16 AM
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Moved from CS to IMHO.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:15 AM
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We have had threads like this before.

I also used to do it occasionally but I got sick of being reverted by people who didn’t know what they were talking about.

The “no original research” and other rules are applied in a way that produces ridiculous results.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:24 AM
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The main type of changes that I (occasionally) make are typo fixes and links that point to the wrong disambiguation page; I find incorrect links particularly annoying. Less frequently, I'll add a comment that "thing X" is referred to in "book Y", or something like that.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:27 AM
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I have corrected a few factual errors and updated a couple of things that were out of date.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Twit View Post
Just curious if you have a cite for this? It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest but I'd like to know how well supported the claim actually is.
I tried looking in might be here, but I had originally seen it on TV
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confli...g_on_Wikipedia
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:15 AM
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Occasionally I change something that looks blatantly wrong, but I just gave up my regular editing projects because there are too many a--hole rule enforcers out there who wreck your stuff.....
This was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. No, I didn't want to get involved in a year-long debate or take a graduate course in the epistemology of wiki standards. I just gave up. I never look at those articles again.
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Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
Like the others: did some editing, got reverted too many times, got sick of the whole thing. I still try to fix up grammar and references occasionally, but I avoid subjects I know and understand.
I see others' experiences have been very similar to mine. Sometimes zealous Wiki-insiders will, despite total ignorance of a topic, revert good changes that didn't use "in with the in-crowd" formatting.

Have others noticed that the usefulness of Wikipedia has fallen sharply over the past several years? Many articles drone on and on in superfluous detail before getting to the "meat" which the Wiki searcher most likely wanted ... and then another click is needed to find that "meat"! If there's a link at all.

As just one example, long ago I Wiki'ed "World War II" and found a series of maps which elegantly told the story of the War, year by year. I don't think anyone actually erased the maps, but if there're pages still linking to them, they aren't pages that show up after several clicks.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:53 AM
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I've made a bunch of minor edits (broken links and such) here and there. The only significant contribution I've made is that I greatly expanded the article for Dr. Joseph D. Bryant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_D._Bryant). On most days I read the news from 100 years ago today, and when I saw his obituary a few years ago I was disappointed to find that his Wikipedia entry was just a single sentence and I thought he deserved better. The revised article even appeared in the "Did you know..." box on the main page at the time.
I've done the same thing; improved or even added an article for someone who I thought deserved better. I mostly concentrated on writers and authors whose work I enjoyed. In a couple of cases, I was surprised to find no article about someone I thought was reasonably well-known. In others, I found only a short stub. The one thing I have not done very often is to add photos to the articles, because it can be difficult to find ones that are clearly copyright-free or otherwise qualify.

I have only rarely been reverted.

One thing I notice though, with Wikipedia, is that often articles don't flow well and have information repeated from one paragraph to another, because no one person has ever edited the article as a whole.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:00 AM
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I can recall only one occasion. When my father passed away, I edited the date and location of death into his Dutch Wikipedia page (he had one because he was correspondence chess champion of the Netherlands one year).
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:05 AM
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I think Wikipedia is better than ever and a prodigious accomplishment of knowledge. I read and learn all the time and I never get tired of it. I've made thousands of edits from small to large. I used to run into problems with getting reverted when I was new there, but kept at it, learned my way around, and haven't had a problem with that in many years.

I've written about eight or nine articles, but mostly I create articles by translating them from other language Wikipedias. I find greater purpose in it through the Gender Gap movement (encouraging more women to edit) and participation in Women in Red (creating more articles about women) to redress the balance. They have citation wizards now that do the formatting for you.

What drives me crazy is trying to edit Wiktionary. It runs on having to use obscure and gnarly coding that has constantly frustrated my efforts to learn it, and worse, it's almost impossible to find good explanations of this coding in the help files. Still, I've created many articles there on foreign-language words and had them featured in Foreign Word of the Day. But I get much less done on Wiktionary because the coding is so hard to figure out. It's gotten to where I just enter the data the best I can and then say OK, bots, come and fix this up.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:18 AM
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Last time I checked, I was in the top 10,000 wiki-editors by number of edits. I have rarely been reverted. Don't know why my experience is so different from others here.
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:53 AM
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One thing I notice though, with Wikipedia, is that often articles don't flow well and have information repeated from one paragraph to another, because no one person has ever edited the article as a whole.
I've re-written entire articles from Wipediaese to English, only to find it will eventually revert to gibberish over the next dozen edits.

After more than a thousand edits and a few articles created from scratch, I gave up when some Wiki big shot came through and deleted a list that had taken hundreds of hours of work to build. A non-asshole would have moved the list to a sub-article and linked to it, but this guy just wiped it out. Rather than get into an edit war, I left and never went back.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:05 AM
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These days I only correct things like grammar, punctuation, and confusing wording. I used to go to a lot of trouble to make substantive changes, tracking down cites, etc., but got frustrated when my changes were usually deleted. A lot of editors have insanely proprietary attitudes toward "their" pages and will revert any substantial change you make, no matter how well documented. It's just not worth the effort. I sometimes still make suggestions for changes on the talk pages, but no longer make the changes myself.
  #33  
Old 02-13-2019, 11:20 AM
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I mainly check Recent Changes from time to time, looking for anonymous vandalism.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:28 AM
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I've done the same thing; improved or even added an article for someone who I thought deserved better. I mostly concentrated on writers and authors whose work I enjoyed. In a couple of cases, I was surprised to find no article about someone I thought was reasonably well-known. In others, I found only a short stub. The one thing I have not done very often is to add photos to the articles, because it can be difficult to find ones that are clearly copyright-free or otherwise qualify.

I have only rarely been reverted.

One thing I notice though, with Wikipedia, is that often articles don't flow well and have information repeated from one paragraph to another, because no one person has ever edited the article as a whole.
That reminds me, I also created the article about the photographer Thomas Sutton. I noticed he didn't have an entry when I was reading about the history of color photography and found that links to his name were to a different Thomas Sutton. Looking at the entry now, someone really did a number on the paragraph about experiments with color, maybe a fifth of my writing there remains. Outside that paragraph, what I wrote is still about 90% intact.

I also find that I'm rarely reverted, though the fact that the vast majority of my edits are minor may play a role in that.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:38 AM
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Not usually, but I've done it a few times when the accumulation of errors was overwhelming, or when it was one of those that are taking a long time to be fought down. Stuff such as someone granting a nobiliary title which never existed (Lord of Xavier) to a person who wouldn't have had it if it had existed (St. Francis Xavier, who had several healthy older brothers and whose father was the Seneschal of the Royal Castle of Xavier; in the case of the saint, that "Xavier" is not a lastname but a nickname).
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Last edited by Nava; 02-13-2019 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:07 PM
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Mostly only image related stuff, fixing them up, putting a new image in an article. Even that sometimes gets contentious.

I'll fix grammar errors and markup errors if I see them. But nothing (besides images) that takes up any significant time.
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:07 PM
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I used to be fairly active in the early days too, until the revert and delete trolls took over.

It just rubbed me the wrong way, because erasure seems to me to be deeply antithetical to the whole concept of incremental improvement. If you really feel like you are a superior editor, you should be happy to fix or improve authentic effort rather than just dismissing it.

It isn't all bad, of course. I can still easily get lost down the wiki rabbit hole. The citations and references are beefed up. And the annoying notability threshold has been somewhat mitigated by the Wikia offshoot.

I eventually found my talents better appreciated on the Lost wiki. Now that Lost is over, I haven't really found a new outlet for my editing jonesing yet.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:08 PM
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Last time I checked, I was in the top 10,000 wiki-editors by number of edits. I have rarely been reverted. Don't know why my experience is so different from others here.
I think it has to do with what I said aboveó
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Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
I used to run into problems with getting reverted when I was new there, but kept at it, learned my way around, and haven't had a problem with that in many years.
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
Rather than get into an edit war, I left and never went back.
There's a third option instead of edit warring or just quitting: You go and talk to the other editors and reach an understanding. Which is how it's actually supposed to work, if you read the help files. Being polite, reasonable, and informed can get you far.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:51 PM
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I think it has to do with what I said above—


There's a third option instead of edit warring or just quitting: You go and talk to the other editors and reach an understanding. Which is how it's actually supposed to work, if you read the help files. Being polite, reasonable, and informed can get you far.
But that gets you nowhere when you're up against stubborn ignorance on a technical matter, where you have to understand the references to know that the references say you're just wrong.

Yes, I could get others involved, get the page locked, but what am I going to do? Educate an entire new group about the meaning of technical words?

If that wasn't unattractive enough, Wikipedia has already decided that certain words have a "correct" meaning completely different from their well known meaning. Am I going to create another of those wars too?

So now when I see a page that says ..."almost all companies and textbooks get this wrong, as in these 15 separate references, but the correct polarity is the other way around to what all the suppliers show"... or "stop bits have a fixed length (usually 1, 1.5 or 2) in asynchronous communications" ... I just walk away. That's a person who is already polite, reasonable, and informed, and knows that they are the only soldier walking in step.

Last edited by Melbourne; 02-13-2019 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:56 PM
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I have not even edited the Wikipedia entry on me, which was written and put up by someone else. Um, the real me, not the real Kropotkin
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:03 PM
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That would put you in a conflict of interest, unless you declare that you're You.

And you couldn't use your own personal knowledge about You, because that's not verifiable.

Unless you write an autobiographical article about You, and get it published in a quasi-authoritative source, and then you can cite to the You article, written by you.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 02-13-2019 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:47 PM
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But that gets you nowhere when you're up against stubborn ignorance on a technical matter, where you have to understand the references to know that the references say you're just wrong.

Yes, I could get others involved, get the page locked, but what am I going to do? Educate an entire new group about the meaning of technical words?

If that wasn't unattractive enough, Wikipedia has already decided that certain words have a "correct" meaning completely different from their well known meaning. Am I going to create another of those wars too?

So now when I see a page that says ..."almost all companies and textbooks get this wrong, as in these 15 separate references, but the correct polarity is the other way around to what all the suppliers show"... or "stop bits have a fixed length (usually 1, 1.5 or 2) in asynchronous communications" ... I just walk away. That's a person who is already polite, reasonable, and informed, and knows that they are the only soldier walking in step.
You can apply for arbitration when you perceive that you're being treated unfairly. If your argument is better informed and adequately referenced, cooler heads will prevail and vindicate you. I've never had to do that, but it's good to know you have recourse to justice if needed.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:02 PM
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BTW, the featured article on Wikipedia today is about "Chains of Love", a dating reality show that aired for six episodes in 2001. Now, the featured articles "are considered to be some of the best articles Wikipedia has to offer" and only about one in a thousand articles qualify. (Certainly none of the articles I've created or extensively edited qualified.) So I'm a little amazed that someone managed to write such a comprehensive article about a short-lived show from 18 years ago.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:20 AM
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I did get an article from initial creation to "Good Article" status. The key seem to have been that my very first version had 12 references.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:26 PM
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Over the years, I've had multiple two-month 'convalescences' after spine surgeries. I had a lot of time on my hands so editing Wikipedia was a natural. I started at least a half-dozen substantial medicine articles (there were lots of gaps back then) and made many, many edits to others.

Then I encountered my first intransigent editor. I'm not sure I've ever been more frustrated. I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say I haven't done a significant medical edit since (and I have definitely had the time).
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:29 PM
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I've made minor edits to typographical mistakes and grammatical mistakes, and I've occasionally added political information to elections and the like, but I don't do it all too often.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:57 PM
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I would like to participate more but I'm honestly not even sure what to do beyond the minor edits.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:07 AM
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Location: Southwestern PA
Posts: 14,269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Kitchen View Post
I used to be a regular on Wikipedia, until the politics wore me down. I rarely go there any more.
Me too. Some of the exchanges over really minor things got so involved that it became a task more than a pleasure.
  #49  
Old 02-15-2019, 08:34 AM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel is offline
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
There's a third option instead of edit warring or just quitting: You go and talk to the other editors and reach an understanding. Which is how it's actually supposed to work, if you read the help files. Being polite, reasonable, and informed can get you far.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
You can apply for arbitration when you perceive that you're being treated unfairly. If your argument is better informed and adequately referenced, cooler heads will prevail and vindicate you. I've never had to do that, but it's good to know you have recourse to justice if needed.
Yeah, but I already have a job. Which is what it boils down to -- maybe there's some way to get past the politics and elitist editors and get into the "in crowd" and all that but it's just not that important to me. If I see something I can improve and someone else slaps it down in some nerdfight, I'm going to just move along. I'm not invested enough to get into it with them or go through their "process" just so I can add a cite or an update to an article.

Last edited by Jophiel; 02-15-2019 at 08:34 AM.
  #50  
Old 02-15-2019, 08:36 AM
Acsenray is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: U.S.A.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jophiel View Post
Yeah, but I already have a job.
Yes, exactly. I decided I'm not going to volunteer significant time, effort, and expertise to go through all this bullshit. I get paid to do this stuff.
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