Can’t U5 this!

4028mdk09, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve toyed with the idea of a Wikipedia-focused blog for a little while – somewhere to more verbosely give my thoughts than the odd sarcastic quip at ANI, but still detached enough that I don’t get in too much trouble for what I say.

Consider this post an introduction, a hello world of what might become an abandoned blog, or perhaps just maybe something where you can gleam a little into the never-ceasing machine which is Wikipedia, and the strange community of people we call editors.

There’s a lot I want to talk about, both good and bad, and although I skirt over some topics below I really do want to go into detail about how I feel – I hold strong opinions on a lot of topics surrounding the project(s), and would love to share them at some point soon.

One last note before we begin: please do always take my words with a pinch of salt. I both like the mission of Wikipedia and dislike elements of how it achieves it. I think the WMF does great work, but also would like to see major sweeping changes. The editing community is one of the collaborative and helpful places on the internet, but can also be one of its most toxic and insular. My thoughts and biases can change monthly on a particular topic, and I don’t particularly want to “hold back” here.

So with all that said, hello there 👋 I’m Sam, though you might know me as TheresNoTime!

I created my account on the English Wikipedia back in July 2008, though I possibly edited before that time as an anonymous user. Needless to say, my edits back then were… awful – I’m surprised I didn’t get blocked as a vandalism-only account.

I continued to contribute off and on for a few years, until evidently getting bored with moping around the South of England in 2015 and throwing a bit more time and effort at editing. Anyone who does edit will know that this quickly becomes a bit of an addiction, and by November 2016 I was apparently experienced enough to pass a requests for adminship (179 supports to 6 opposes – standards were low!).

My yearly English Wikipedia edits to date [17th August 2021 – XTools]

2016 and 2017 saw some of my highest levels of activity, though as the heady heights of adminship wore off (and it wears off quick) I found myself looking for more things I could do to help out. With the CheckUser/Oversight appointments coming up, I put myself forward for consideration and by early October 2017 I had more buttons to press.

I could go off on a tangent here about CheckUser and Oversight – what they are, what they do and my opinions on them – but I’ll save that for another post. The gist is CheckUser allows you to see the IP address and other technical data logged whenever an editor logs in or edits. Oversight allows you to hide revisions from the public and administrators and is often used to hide things such as minors revealing too much information about where they live.

March 2018 saw me appointed as a steward (which probably explains the drop off in edits on the English Wikipedia). Again, I will write a lot about my time as a steward – it was some of the most rewarding work I’ve done for the project, but also some of the most thankless and draining. It’s essentially being a caretaker for all the Wikimedia projects. Caretakers, unlike stewards, get paid though! 🙃

Late 2018 to early 2021, life happened, though shockingly it wasn’t just the Coronavirus pandemic – I’m not going to go into details, but my mental health took a beating, and contributing to Wikipedia just wasn’t at the top of my list.

I requested the removal of my administrator, checkuser and oversight permissions in December 2018 and didn’t renew my steward appointment. I requested back my permissions slowly in the years following once things had started to be a bit more stable.

And now you’re up to speed! I’m currently an administrator, checkuser and oversighter on the English Wikipedia – I spend the majority of my time working sockpuppet investigations cases, investigating undisclosed paid editing and some other general administrative stuff. Contributing still isn’t at the top of my list, and my activity does waver here and there – I’ve got a good set of people I consider friends whom I edit with, and they keep me around. 🙂

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