Hi. My real name is Richard Morris. Salix alba, the white willow, is a search term I tend to use when working on
plantdatabases. And I'm
Salix alba on meta and
Salix alba on the French wikipedia. I was renamed from Pfafrich in Feb 06.
Wikipedia:Ignore all rules - the most neglected policy on wikipedia. My interpretation, above all we are here to create an encyclopedia, for every action think does this make the encyclopedia better? If so do it to if not don't. But what is a better encylopedia? Often this is not obvious, often not the same as your personal views, often you'll need to lose a bit of ego, but more importantly engage your brain and think.
How to run an opensouce project Great video of a speach about problems which can occur with open source projects and how to overcome them. Quite a bit of relevance to wikipedia here.
I've involved with a
permaculture project called
Plants For a Future.
I'm intrested in creating an colaborative online plant database which information the uses of plants, growing plants and the relationship between plants. We'v a website
 for the project
and been much inspired by wikipedia.
On three occasions I've emailed an academics to ask for clarification on certain points. In all occasions I've had speedy and informative responses, and in one case a preprint was sent. This could be a model for improving wikipedia-academia links, it avoid the
Wikipedia:Vanity problem and
Orignial research. If you do decide to email an academic, be courteous, do not assume they know the in's and out of wikipedia policy, and be specific in your request.
To me these tags represent a very black and white view of their subjects whereas the reality is much more complicated. Is there a fixed boundary between a researcher who's scrutinising the governments claims (a much needed public service) and conspiracy. Where is the boundary between
Non violent direct action and
pseudoscience. There is an inbuilt implication that only the
scientific paradigm is worthy. Even though many of these traditions have served their communities for thousands of years, had their own methods of investigation. We know so little about how ourselves work, why the caring touch can do so much. End of the day different disciplines serve to provide models of the mind, body and spirit. To dispose of one model so quickly and without thinking does a great disservice to the aims of an encyclopedia trying to capture the wealth of human knowledge.
Jung who studied that most pseudoscience of pseudoscience
Astrology, together with many other traditions. His work gave rise to one of the first personality topographies
MBTI closely correlated to the more statistically sound
Big5 typography, which in turn has traits strongly correlated with gene expressions. So astrologers may have got a lot wrong, but observed variations which today are begining to be revealed by by genetic. Who'd have though it.
Often what we seem to find is odd balls who made a lot of mistakes (indeed that's the way science often progresses) but do attempt to study fields outside the mainstream, and often uncover something of worth in their travels.
Edward R. Dewey is a prime example, devoting his life to studying
cycles, he's recently taken a bashing from the rationalist brigade, who seem to want to deny any form of periodic behaviour, leaving us with only a list of different cycles and no overview page linking the topics together. Yes many of Dewey's theories are flawed but sometimes he hit gold.
It might be alright if science itself was perfect, but its scope of investigation is limited. Quantifiabilty works well when the different factors can be easily separated, but the world was not constructed like that, and anything really worthy of study (say how to bring a child up well) has so many interacting variables that our current scientific paradigm is doomed to fail.
p.s. my interest in
Jim Hoffman, is that we were both interested in mathematical graphics and he visited my old department once.
One million arguments
About the time when wikipedia reached its 1,000,000 page I had an idea for an interesting April fools sub-title:
Wikipedia: one million articles, one million editors - one million arguments.
Here's my guide to where to find the best arguments on wikipedia.
WP:AFD - You run of the mill day-to-day argument. Editors can happily waste days on the hundreds of borderline articles.
WP:CFD - slightly more contentious as these effect multiple pages and the overall organization of WP. Inbuilt problems with categorisation as implies binary labels to people and articles, when in reality things are not always so clear cut. The
Sorites paradox has much to inform on labelling. These get worse for emotive labels like
WP:TFD seems quiet now but the great userbox debate caused so much grief, when the rights of people to express themselves conflicted with
WP:MFD can get very contentious as about non standard pages.
WP:DRV when all the above go wrong, for those who just won't let go.
WP:GACWP:GA/RWP:FACWP:FAR the flipside to deletions - whats best in wikipedia. Generally a more positive discussion although a featured article review can be withering. Great for those of a pedantic disposition. Lovely clash when
The Two Cultures of science and humanities clash over
WP:ACID most humorous, lots of people vote for their personal favorite topic in the hope that someone else might actually do some work on the page.
Admin and users
WP:ANI your one-stop-shop for all manner of arguments, to get here people must have lost their cool, check regulary for latest war reports. Plenty of sub-pages for the more discerning argument watcher.
WP:SSPWP:RFCU these get nasty, sockpuppetry is about deceit (pretending to be something you are not). Uncovering sockpuppetry involves accusing users with scant and circumstantial evidence. I've seen a number of good editors leave over particularly bitter cases.
MFD/Esperanza - oh dear some people have a problem with the idea of community, dispight the fact that without community there would be no wikipedia. How to piss off a great swath of our best editors. Initially there was no consensus so the deletionist chose to reopen the dabate in the quite period before new year, proposed 28 Dec, closed 4 days later on 1st of Jan. Was a resepresentitive discussion held? Were the users involved in the project informed. Should a discussion of this magnitude be concluded so quickly?