Sunday, May 18, 2008

Her first GA, can FA be far behind?

Engraving of Ann Eliza Bleecker, a socialite and noted poet of New York, United States during the 18th centuryAnn Eliza Bleecker,
Image via
Wikimedia Commons

Forgive me for being a bit proud!

Background: While I tend to get involved in the meta aspects of Wikimedia Foundation projects (sometimes perhaps too much so) as well as write articles, my wife has instead concentrated on editing.

She has stated that she has no interest in becoming an administrator at any of the wikis she frequents. Can't say as I blame her, although she would be a good administrator, I am sure.

Except for occasionally voting in support or (rarely) opposition of various candidates, she stays out of the internal political discussions and controversies of Wikipedia (and other wikis), editing is all she does.

And when she edits, she's rather good. (I admit bias, mind you) I consider myself lucky to have a wife who enjoys many of the same hobbies I do (she's a skilled LEGO builder as well). She has built up a solid record of contributions.

She focuses on relatively obscure female historical figures, primarily Americans of the 18th and 19th centuries, who have been underserved by Wikipedia articles. It's not as glamorous as writing about major contemporary figures, and not nearly as easy, the sources can be hard to track down. But she writes good stuff! Her articles usually make "Did You Know" after they are created.

Case in point, her first Good Article (GA), which I used in my Britannica comparison, and then nominated for GA a few days ago. Yesterday it got reviewed, put on hold, and then, in a flurry of cooperative editing by her, Giggy (the reviewer), and myself, (all coordinated on IRC) had all the faults Giggy identified corrected in under 2 hours (maybe not a record, but quite rapid time for an article to come off hold) and was promoted. Here's an excerpt from the lede:

Saratoga campaign, Tomhannock is just north of Albany and south of Saratoga, New YorkSaratoga campaign,
Image via
Wikimedia Commons

Ann Eliza Bleecker (1752November 23, 1783) was an American poet and correspondent. Following a New York upbringing, Bleecker married John James Bleecker, a New Rochelle lawyer, in 1769. He encouraged her writings, and helped her publish a periodical containing her works.

The American Revolution saw John join the New York Militia, while Ann fled with their two daughters. She continued to write, and what remained of the family returned to Tomhannock following Burgoyne's surrender. She was saddened and affected by the deaths of numerous family members over the years, and died in 1783.

Bleecker's pastoral poetry is studied by historians to gain perspective of life on the front lines of the revolution, and her novel Maria Kittle, the first known Captivity narrative,[1] set the form for subsequent Indian Capture novels which saw great popularity after her death.

Bleecker was an important, if somewhat obscure figure in the American Revolution, and Wikipedia now has a good article about her, where previously it had none at all, thanks to the efforts of one editor. Wikisource also has a considerable portion of Bleecker's existing writings, mostly again thanks to my wife.

And she had fun doing the work. That's the idea. When Wikipedia fosters this sort of thing, it works, and works well. Reading about the issues and things that need fixing can leave you with the impression of a complete disaster, but that's not the case. Imperfect, yes? but darn good. Remember that, please. And go write something!


private musings said...

congrat.s to mrs. lar! (or perhaps I shall henceforth refer to you as Mr Epousesquecido - at least until your next GA!)

It's always good to remember that most of wikipedia works really well. It's also interesting to point out how little effect most of the internal chit chat has on the project as a whole - which I believe to be actually led by people like Epousequecido working away in a fun and rewarding fashion in their own areas of interest.

I've got my own take on what that means for wikipedia's 'governance' and where it might go from here, which I can't really explain in one comment - but I see the problem as one of scale - the potential to cause harm has scaled along with the rest of the project, and its not really fair to say 'yebbut the project does pretty well over all.....' - certainly not to anyone so harmed!

Wikipedia needs to build confidence that its systems are self-correcting / capable of positive change - I'm an optimist to the degree that I hope a 'drip drip drip' approach can erode the mountain of inertia - but I certainly don't take responsibility for how wikipedia is today. Maybe that's part of the problem..... does anyone?

Giggy said...

I hate to say it, but I've seen faster than 2 hours. I think David Fuchs has (on multiple occasions) done it all in less than one - and I like to think I actually give something to work on (hopefully Lar can attest to that!).

Anyways, yay! I enjoyed reading it! :)