A Witness to Tolerance

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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The World of Music - helping a Cambodian boy

I know the title of this post is a little cliched, but my Dad's boss is looking for questions for a trivia night which involve today's music. I was a little hard-pressed because I don't always keep up with modern music (which is to say, anything released in this decade). Still, I found Delta Goodrem (local singer), Missy Higgins (local singer), Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morisette. I think kids of today would know of and relate to Alanis Morisette .

Do you know anyone who's been in the top 10 recently? (Yes, Brenda, setting a bad example!) Especially in the areas of rap and hip-hop and other genres that my ears rarely listen to? Especially songs with lyrics! I could always go to Wikipedia and look up the top 10 and 20 in various musical territories. Thank you very much! It would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Non scholae sed vitae discimus" - Seneca

In English: (take note this is a liberal translation; apart from osmosis, I have little real knowledge of Latin or for that matter classical tongues which takes in Greek, Hebrew and Sanskrit. I do wish I did, as this is part of a liberal/classical education) We learn not in school but for life. So true!

Seneca is a lovely philosopher. He says some wise things about managing anxiety. I think there is a lot of anxiety going on among teachers and adminstrators when their students put up things about themselves to the world. Perhaps there are weaknesses exposed. Another philosopher, Socrates, told us not to be afraid of our weaknesses, because they would help us in the end. At least if we know that we do not know, we can work on it next time and perhaps gain the knowledge which would help us. I first met Seneca in Alain de Botton's The Consolations of Philosophy. I found Status Anxiety to be a most demanding philosophical project, and I do not know yet the terrain of his latest book. Perhaps I should read more serious philosophical works other than popularises, and actually get into the meat and bones of such men as Seneca. Unfortunately I am not taking a Summer School course at the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy as I did last year with Nietzsche. Though I want to learn heaps more about post-modernism like Deleuze and also Merleau-Ponty and what they did for the Continental project. Also I would like to improve my knowledge of analytical philosophy too, so that I do not become one-sided. I am well aware I could learn these things on the web. Indeed, I did some reading of Lacan last week, on Butterflies and Wheels. I adore the man and the way he plays with language. (Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration.)

So here we are then:
Here is the article about Lacan if you would like to read it:

There is not much writing in there yet, in the site where I took the saying from. But students should definitely learn to create blogs and wikis in their curriculum. It will teach them to be good witnesses and colloborators. I cannot think of anything more sensible and thought-out to say just now, as I am aching all over. I would like to very much. There is an interesting book about Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre on the market just now.

I did go to LibriVox but I will not be recording anything just yet. Not until the 31st if I am lucky and if Harvey Norman is reliable. I suppose until then I can get a set of blank tapes and record from there. Put my name down for several Blake poems (several? I nearly claimed the lot. And what sort of date is February the 31st? But it would be good if that month were three days longer) and one Black Beauty chapter. I liked the sound of "Thou rose art sick" ... by Chip.

I did not get up until 10am Australian time and I didn't have my shower until 2pm. Then I ate at a well-known fast-food restaurant. I read lots about Roald Dahl because of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Yesterday when I went to a well-known video/DVD store where I live I saw lots of Willy Wonka food behind the counter. I am an old-fashioned lover of Nerds. I also did some reading about Joseph and his Dreamcoat. Among the DVDs I have borrowed are the Third Man and Dr Zhivago. I did want Shakespeare in Love and Breakfast at Tiffany's. I borrowed the Dreamcoat and two others I cannot remember.

Am listening to Joan Baez a lot. I got her because of her similarity to Bob Dylan. I love the way she sings songs like "Suzanne" and "Please Come to Boston" and "The Night they Drove old Dixie Down" and the one with the lyric about "my poetry was lousy you said". Two days ago the deadline for the Josephine Ulrick passed. Josephine Ulrick is a poetry competition named after a lady who was very kind to writers and lived in the Queensland area. The competition is sponsored by Griffith University. Sent in a poem to them a month ago, before Christmas, anyway!
Another Joan Baez lyric I like is "the wine was Germany's best". Of course I can't really speak of a Joan Baez lyric because so many of her songs are folk standards. That would show my ignorance, wouldn't it?

I did listen to Wicked Wikipedia and I must admit I found the other daily/weekly segments far more interesting than I found that one. Because I could not hear clearly - that was the main reason.

The Australian Open is getting interesting. A fellow Wikipedian is watching it, and I have told her my username. She is going to see Hingis and maybe Juan Carlos Ferrera. This is exciting. Mum and I watched Pratt vs Pierce. Pratt was a good fighter. Dellaqua - what a shame she let her nerves overtake her. Same goes really for Jelena Dokic.

Those people who are inspired to check out Wikipedia: thank you. On the 15th it was the fifth anniversary of when Wikipedia came into the world.

Who is the new Doctor? We saw an episode - the end of one - from 1987. I am almost sure that is Sylvester McCoy, and that he has been in the episodes for some time.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hello Graham - Catch you in a New York sunrise

Hello everybody!

Graham Wegner of Adelaide has just written to me, after I wrote about blogging awards in response to his blog. That is so good. I do like this a lot. It is a big privilege.

Also, I have just written to Gordon Brune because he put up an interesting prompt about Martin Luther King and his legacy. It turns out that the high school there has a Multicultural Club which did dances and songs about Martin Luther King, and one by Stevie Wonder. "We have time for racism ... for every kind of -ism".

It has just turned out that I wrote my post four minutes after a New York sunrise. Mr Brune was obviously up very early. He was up before sunrise. I am sure his students will be pleased.

I have a new book which cost less than 10 dollars from Angus and Robertson by Paget (not the lady, the man) and on January the 31st I will have an MP3 machine to do lots of recordings. I will have to learn how to convert MP3/WMA to OGG which is the standard free sound format for Wikipedia spoken recordings. I will do some short articles. And I will put in quotes from my favourite poets. The book starts with Spring is icumen in and ends with Seamus Heaney who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. I like his working class poetry, especially about potatoes and work. Also there is Ted Hughes, but he isn't my favourite.

We have been thinking a great deal about getting an office for Wikimedia Australia. Nathan asked a question about why we need an office and servers at this point. As it was me who suggested it, I might have been obliged to answer it. But AmishThrasher did it so much better and more articulately than I could have, for which I am glad. We have still to decide whether it's the smaller option or not. If you like Wikipedia and believe in what we're doing, and you're Australian, then you can join the steering committee if you like. I certainly hope you do.

Have written lots to the JHH kids. They have made me critically analyse and evaluate my own writing process and especially what I have learnt in the last year. I have made a New Years' Resolution different for each one. They write in their blogs every Thursday, and there is a new girl named Jadea. May she do well and enjoy blogging as well as the older students do. Also have tried a new typing programme - I have written almost NOTHING on paper for 2006 so far, and I am ashamed! But this was for Ellie(y?) in Grade 7. I pointed out that maths and typing are the same - as you always have to show your working. Everyone has different working. I try to get a map of the keyboard, but the rest is muscle memory. I began to type in 1991. And I find the tests a little impatience-inducing as opposed to the three lessons. I shall never get to the next level I am sure. It is a demo version so I had to clean out my temp folder. That may have included spoken files and PDFs. And there was a really terrific video of Wikimania - a key speech which was 125 megabytes. It had to go.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Wikipedia and me

Personal data

1. When did you discover Wikipedia?

I discovered it in December 2003.
2. ... and how?

I read about in the Age computer section.
3. When did you make your first edit?

I think it was about Robyn Davidson, the camel lady. It had been a very hot day.
4. What kind of edit was it? (correct typos, add data etc.)

It was a new article.
5. How long time after your first edit was your first contribution of a new article?

A few hours. My first really new article (as opposed to the ones I made for Wikiproject Melbourne) was about Reactive Attachment Disorder.
6. How many edit did you do until now? (You can include edits from another accounts or edits as an anonymous user)

I think about 700-800.

7. Do you use multiple accounts on the Wikipedias where you are most?

No, I don't. That's called trolling.
* How many accounts do you have on a given Wikipedia?
8. What is your user name on Wikipedia?

EuropracBHIT. So called because I chose it to be my practical placement when I studieed at Box Hill Institute of TAFE in 2004.
9. When did you first log onto Wikipedia?

April 17 2004.
10. What made you register a username?

The impending return to school.
11. What is merit of being a register user?

That you get taken more seriously and that people can be on the talk page. That you build up a reputation/track record. You can move and delete articles and maybe be an adminstrator one day.
12. What is demerit of being a register user?

That you are accountable for your actions. That you have to remember to log in whcih I don't always.

13. Have you used features only for registered users (except Watchlist)?

I don't know. I MOVE articles, yes
14. Do you have your own blog or your website?
Yes, this is what you're reading right now.
* Do you write Wikipedia related topics there frequently?

Yes. This is my first time that I've discussed Wikipedia here. I'm very excited because I'm one of the people who may form a Wikimedia Australia one day.



1. How many edits do you make in a month?

About half a dozen.
2. How many new articles do you create in a month?

3. How many images do you upload in a month?

None. Last time I did this was in June 2004, about the railway lines of Melbourne.
4. Between which hours do you do most editing (including all day)

In the afternoon and early evening.
5. Do you do Wikipedia maintenance frequently?

No. I clean up vandalism on articles I see.
6. Do you use talk pages frequently?

I try to when there's an important issue.
7. Have you created a watchlist?

Yes. It is a short one. I don't use it that often.
8. Do you make interlang links and/or interwiki links? And how?

No, because I don't have the skill to.
9. Do you categorize articles´╝č

I try to.
10. Do you add stub tags, if you find a stub?

11. What do you do if you encounter a substub?

I don't really come across them. I suppose, expand them?
12. Have you translated articles from other language Wikipedias?

* Which languages?
No, I haven't translated articles from other languages. I did a psychology textbook from French in Wikibooks, though.

Your field

1. Tell us your best article work among your contributions.

I don't know that I have a 'best article work'.
2. Is there any featured article(s) in your contributions?

No, not yet. I don't think I could create a featured article all by myself.
3. Is there any featured image(s) in your uploaded images (including on Commons)?

4. In which fields are you active?

Literature, psychology, Melbourne, sometimes sport.
5. Are there any active contributors in that field?

Yes. Lots.
6. To what degree do you know that field?

Very well. I could always learn more though!
7. What makes you have an special interest in that field?

Because I like my city and it needs more coverage in Wikipedia.
8. Have articles in that field a good quality?

They're getting better.
9. Is there a portal for that field?

It might be a good idea.
10. What improvement would you like to do in that field?

I can't really specify. Make the suburb articles bigger and better and put more pictures in.
11. Do you think it is good for Wikipedia to have articles on your field?

12. Have you searched how frequently your articles were quoted?

Yes. Bayswater and Boronia are quoted quite often.
13. Do you think your edits improve Wikipedia?

I try to improve Wikipedia all the time. I don't know that they disimprove Wikipedia.

Wikipedia from a view of a reader

1. Do you read Wikipedia without editing?

* For which purpose? (Examples: For information, for curiosity, for killing time etc.)
For information and for curiosity. For example, I wanted to know about the caste system in India.
2. Which article has been most impressive among articles you have read?

I think the articles about Autism and Asperger Syndrome.
3. Have you believed an error that you read on Wikipedia?

No. I try to correct them when that comes. I don't usually have enough knowledge in the field to know, especially in the more scientific ones.
4. On which Wikipedia project do you have the biggest interest now?

5. Does Wikipedia help you?


Administration and maintenance

1. Do you know about administrators?

I do.
2. Would you like to be an admin on your Wikipedia? Or you are already an admin?

I don't know about being an admin. I'm not active enough every day.
3. Is there any sysop preveledges you would like to use?

* If yes, what is it? Or for admins, which feature do you use most frequently?
Not particularly.
4. Have you been recommend to be an admin candidate?

* If you were rejected, why?
5. Would you like to be a bureaucrat? Or you are already so?

6. Do you think administration is a heavy burden?

* Why?
Not particularly.
7. What kind of administrative works or maintenance do you engage?

8. Would you like to be a developer?

9. Do you join Bugzilla?

I probably should/would like to!
10. And Wikipedia-l or similar mailinglist for Wikipedia administration?

11. And Wikitech-l, too?

12. What do you think the most important thing to sysops?

That they respect we're here to create an encyclopaedia and don't get into edit wars.


1. Can you bear a stub?

* What is a stub in your definition?
Something that is less than 250 words and has incomplete information and no references.
2. How many bytes do you set your stub limit for?

I don't know.
3. Can you bear a substub?

* What is a substub in your definition?
4. Do you consider yourself as a stub creator?

5. You create an article and put no stub tab. Another editor put it (like {{stub}}. Can you bear his edit?

Not very well. I try to. Which is why I say "This is the start of an article about [topic].
6. Have your article listed on Wikipedia:Clean-up or similar pages?

Yes! For footnotes. How embarrassing!
7. Have your contribution been deleted as a speedy deletion candidate?

No. I've put things up for speedy deletion though, like Religiousness and Intelligence.
8. Can you bear an unwikified article?

9. Can you bear an article whose lemma isn't emphasized?

What's a lemma? Is it Japanese for title? In that case, no I can't.
10. Can you bear an article without interlang links?

Depends on the subject.
11. And if there is nothing without interlang links?

12. Can you forgive me, an editor those miserable question on the above?

Yes. They are important to the spirit of the Wikipedia.

Thou shalt love Wikipedia.

1. Do you love Wikipedia?

Of course I do.
2. What kind of vision do you have on Wikipedia? Optimistic or Pesimistic?

In the main optimistic.
3. Have you annoyed on slowness of Wikipedia?

When I had not been very long on Wikipedia, I was VERY annoyed. I used IRC to stave the boredom. This was in the new year 2004.
4. When Wikipedia is slow, what do you do?

I do other things.
5. What do you think your possible contribution to improve the slowness of Wikipedia?

I load up too many articles with graphics and I bring up too many search queries.
6. Have your contribution been deleted because of deletion?

Yes, about half a dozen of them.
7. Have your contribution been disappeared because of browser plobrem?

Yes! Lots of times! I hate that! Fortunately, Firefox is mostly-well behaved.
8. Have you donate to Wikimedia Foundation?

No. I wanted to during our lasst fund drive but I wasn't allowed.
9. Have you bought any materials (books, magazine, movie etc.) for contribution to Wikipedia?

Yes. I bought the Melways and the Encyclopaedia of Melbourne.
10. Which is bigger, your reading articles and your editing ones?

My reading ones, thus far.
11. Are you Wikiholic in fact?

In a certain sense, yes.

Other communities

1. Do you join other Wikimedia project than Wikipedia? Like Wiktionary?

Yes, Wikibooks and Wikisource.
2. Do you join any online community related to Wikipedia, like IRC or bulletine board?

I probably should.
3. What are your most frequently visiting online community?

I don't know. I refuse to answer that on the grounds it may incriminate me.
4. Have you ever attended Wiki-meetups?

5. Will you attend Wikimania 2006? (Was previously 2005, changed)

I want to.
6. Do you expect Wikimania will be held in your country?

I hope so. Let's book the Events Warehouse for food. And the Melbourne Convention Centre
7. Do you join multiple Wikipedia, not only your mother tongue one?

No, the English one so far.


1. Do you think you understand GFDL perfectly?

Yes. I've known it and believed in it since I was a little girl - and boy has it changed since then!
2. Are you using css?

No. I don't really know how. I presume Blogger has it though.
3. Please give your words to other Wikipedians.

Other Wikipedians are usually good people and very nice. I greatly appreciate the contributions of everyone.
4. Please give your comments to Wikipedia.

I think Wikipedia is a great resource and I truly have learnt a lot.
5. Which question would you like to add to this list?

I can't think of anything right now.

Dear School District

I have deleted my Blogthings meme which I placed on my blog earlier.

I realise the site has things which are not suitable for children and students, and I was exceedingly remiss in placing it there where your students could see it.

Thank you for letting Mr Brune know. He is a professional man and I am sure he would not want his students exposed to anything untoward in their blogging adventures.

We have had a good commenting relationship since December 22 2005, and I do not wish to spoil it through carelessness or worse. He has had to bend some rules to allow me to comment, and I greatly appreciate his flexibility.

I hope this blog is once more school-safe for the children of New York and their parents, and I will continue to make every effort to do so

Thank you,

Bronwyn G.