Hello fr33kman, thank you for joining us! You're an admin, checkuser, and bureaucrat here on the Simple English Wikipedia, but tell us a bit more about yourself.
- Well, I'm just starting my forth decade of life and I guess I tend to think of myself as just another person, pretty much similar to most others. I was born in England but have moved around a great deal since then. I've been married and I've been divorced, but I've never had kids and am not really sure I'd want them. I now work as a doctor but was an IT engineer for most of my working life. I think of myself as a calm person, one who thinks prior to taking actions of anykind. I don't really understand people who hurt others and am baffled by the vandals we get here on SimpleWP. I beleive I am a tolerant person and have zero time for racism or any other kind of -ism that judges people by things other than their actions. My goal in life is to see every country on Earth, but I am realistic that this is unlikely to happen as there are far to many of them, and I'm not filthy rich. From a philosophical standpoint I don't approve of the concept of nationhood. This is a small planet, and we're all humans so artificial borders seem a bit rude to me.
Interesting, and I agree for the most part. Do you intend to use those views towards building the encyclopedia?
- I use those views in all aspects of my life. Regarding buidling the encyclopedia I personally tend to wander aimlessly about the place adding, subtracting and fixing things as I go. I don't really like working on the IT or medical articles much because I like to seperate work from not work. Simple is a place I come to because I enjoy it, it's fun. I don't think anyone would edit if they didn't enjoy it. My personal views about the direction of the project are similar to TRM's in that I think this (and ALL encyclopedias) should focus on the truly educational topics, mostly. I have been feeling pretty guilty lately about my decline in mainspace editting and it's something I'm going to work very hard on. I think everyone here is first, and foremost, an editor afterall!
Makes sense. So, how did you first find Wikipedia?
- To be honest, I can't remember. But I believe it was like most other people via a web search engine whilst looking something up. I do remember my first contact involved a page on enWP that had quite a few redlinks on it so I guess it was quite a while ago. I remember being impressed by the idea because I've always believed that the truly great thing about the Internet is that any one on Earth with access can affect the flow of global information. Sometimes that is good, sometimes it is not. Wikipedia is most certainly in the former category. I don't like elitism of any kind and Wikipedia has fought against that every single second since it went live. Education should not cost anyone who wants to seek it out any money at all. In that regard, I think Jimbo should be up there with Ghandi, or even Christ. Fantastic idea, wish I had thought of it first, lol!
On that note, what do you feel Wikipedia's primary failings are?
- I'm not really sure that Wikipedia has failings per se, but a weakness I've found is that many of the editors tend to be similar types of people. Mostly male, mostly computer savvy, mostly a bit of an assertive nature. I'd like to find a way to encourage other types of people to edit here; kids, mothers, women in general, and the elderly, who have a wealth of knowledge they could share with the world. A rather important "failing" is the lack of fact checking that goes on. An encyclopedia is meant to be a trusted and reliable source of knowledge. Most of our articles are not reliable, that's a major problem. Wikipedia's strengths are centered around its openness and its acceptance as a popular website, both have enabled it to keep open and active.
In terms of editing experience, how would you describe your contributions to Wikipedia? Do you find yourself to be a key member of the community?
- My editing has dropped off a great deal since I became an admin. There's only so much time in the day and sometimes I'm very busy in real life. I think I'm a decent editor when I give it my full attention and I always tend to provide citations and write in a neutral manner. I'm not sure really that anyone is a key member of the community. I think I'm a fairly well respected and liked member, but the same can be said about many others. In this respect Peterdownunder is a bit of a wiki-hero of mine. He shows up, plugs away with his editing, deals with his admin stuff and flies below the radar of the odd drama that we have. You've go to respect a fellow like that.
How do you feel about the issue regarding stubs on certain subjects, such as rivers and cities?
- Well, notable is notable. We don't have levels of notability so we are supposed to believe that anything that passes should have an article here. I agree with that fully, however I can understand the issues surrounding these types of stubs. I feel it's best to avoid creating them if you can and to work on more "importantly" needed articles. However, on the flip-side of that, they do turn redlinks blue, and so do provide some information to the reader, and it's the reader that matters the most. It'd be nice if the MediaWiki interface would be able to ignore articles with something like __RANDOMIGNORE__ so that they'd not flood Random Page so much.
Thanks for your answers! Anything else you'd like to say while you're here?
- Not really, I think the above illustrates well who I am and what I believe in. Thanks for the interview!