Page semi-protected


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I very much appreciate constructive criticism, no matter how trifling the matter. If I've done anything wrong, or if there's some nuance that I'm missing, please let me know.

I've recently completed a beta version of a template for formatting interlinear glosses. Anyone willing to test it and see if they could find the hidden Easter-egg bugs?


Random thoughts

  • In any field of activity on wikipedia there are likely to be a large number of editors who apply thought and diligence to their work, and a hopefully smaller number of editors who don't. But doing work without much thought or care takes considerably less time than working diligently. As a consequence, even though most editors are careful, most of the work is done by those who aren't.
  • Wikipedia has a lot of guidelines and rules. The less consequential a rule, the greater the zeal with which it is enforced. Most of the big-time drama revolves around the least important issues.
  • There is a certain class of articles about "easy" topics that attract a lot of (often minor) editing by users who aren't always aware of the limitations of their competence. Such articles deteriorate over time.
  • When to avoid making an edit:
    • if your edit summary is longer than the change in the text
    • if your talk-page comment is shorter than the wiki markup of your signature.
  • When to avoid participating in an involved debate:
    • First step out of your box for a second and think if there's anything, anything at all, that the other participants could conceivably present you with that will change your opinion. If there isn't, then you're likely there only for the one-upmanship, so you and everybody else will be better off if you don't take part.
  • The joy in editing wikipedia is inversely correlated with the size of your watchlist.
  • If you think of yourself as efficient, chances are others will see you as sloppy. Conversely, if you expect people to be careful, you'll most likely be seen as a curmudgeon.
  • In a discussion, the more thoroughly you present your argument, the less likely are participants to read it. Corollary 1: detailed proposals tend to receive a greater number of ill-informed votes. Corollary 2: the longer the discussion, the less likely is the closer to have read it all.
  • The more time you spend as a member of the wikipedia community, the more likely you are to appreciate what a miracle it is that it still exists.
  • The AfC process seems designed in such a way so that everyone except the most determined PR operatives is deterred from contributing new content.
  • Apparently, every meaningful argument can be dismissed out of hand by one or another string of all-blue upper-case letteres (like this: WP:CB). For example, if you draw an analogy, or try to fit an article into its wider context on wikipedia, your argument will immediately be declared invalid per WP:OTHERSTUFF.

When consensus doesn't work

  • A large number of discussions are centred on pretty insignificant issues, like what an article's title should be. Such small matters don't tend to attract a great deal of input from quality editors. However, they do attract people for whom such petty matters have symbolic importance and who have an emotional stake in the issue. So the "consensus" that comes out of the discussion will have little to do with the reality of the sources, and a lot to do with which side of the debate happens to motivate a higher number of opinionated editors and how many of them manage to add a veneer of objectivity to their claims.
  • Long and complicated discussions without a clear majority in the head count make it difficult for the closing editor to properly evaluate all arguments in the amount of time they've decided to spend on it. The more complicated a discussion is, the less likely it is to be closed sensibly.

How to win content disputes

  • In the quest for making articles better represent the Truth, you're likely to come across editors who have more subject knowledge and competence than you do. These can be a pain in the neck. To get them out of the way, you could use the following strategy. Revert some of their edits to an article and in the ensuing talk page discussion strive to talk credible nonsense with a straight face. Just make some claims that you know to be preposterous within the framework of the relevant subject. You have to make these claims sound reasonable, and you'll get extra points if you manage to insinuate that your opponent isn't competent enough (you can be a bit patronising: link to some article that is very basic to the subject and suggest that they should read it). This is going to frustrate them, and they will either give up trying to deal with such thickness and simply leave, or get so annoyed that they lose their temper. In the latter case, you might be able to get them blocked for incivility. But even if you don't, you've still managed to get ahead: the uninvolved editors who've come to mediate are unlikely to have the subject knowledge necessary to discern the sensible from the nonsense, but they surely have the ability to see who was being calm and "reasonable" (you), and who was unreasonable and uncivil (your subject-competent opponent). You win in either case!

Edit warring questionnaire

Cycles of reverting and discussion are a normal part of wikipedia life but sometimes the discussion is skipped and the cycle gets stuck on the revert loop. This is edit warring. Before engaging in it, it's good to go through the following questionnaire:

  1. "Do I feel competent enough in the subject matter?" If not, then don't don't revert.
  2. "Have I read the discussion on the talk page? Have I followed the links to previous relevant discussions?" If not, then read it.
  3. "Do I understand why the other editor, a well-intentioned and rational human being just like me, is making the edit that they're making?" If not, then ask them.
  4. "Am I able to give a rationale for my edit?" If not, then don't revert. If you still feel like reverting, consider taking a one-hour wikibreak.
  5. "If my rationale is based solely on wikipedia guidelines, manuals of style or established practice, am I able to explain why these are what they are? Do I understand how these interact with the particulars of the case?" If not, then don't revert.

Indispensable talk page templates

Collection of questionable edits

I have an alternative account Uanfala's sock which I use for functionality testing.