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I'm Charles Stewart, a copy-editor and logician based in Berlin, interested especially in proof theory, modal logic, applications of logic to computer science, philosophical logic, mathematical structures for semantics and, increasingly, history of logic. Some of my home pages:


de-2Dieser Benutzer hat gute Deutschkenntnisse.
fr-1Cet utilisateur peut contribuer avec un niveau élémentaire de français.

I'm a participant in the excellent Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics, the rather less successful Wikipedia:WikiProject Philosophy, and a cofounder of the near-defunct Wikipedia:WikiProject Logic. Most of my editing activity has been to do with logic, and an idea of what I count to be logic can be found at User:Chalst/watchlist.

I am putting together an annotated bibliography which might be of use to other editors in these areas at User:Chalst/bib.

Goals and to dos[edit]

Two main goals I have at the moment: help the logic article on the road to featured article, and help Wikipedia:WikiProject Logic. Most of my edits are somewhat related to my academic interests, but I dip into music, German politics, journalism and publishing, and other articles from time to time.

I have a sort of to-do list on User:Chalst/tasks. I'm currently working on reviewing Wikipedia:Good article nominations: Talk:Rule_184/GA1.

Attitude to policy and practice[edit]

There are two main activities that editors must carry out well to best support Wikipedia: content creation and quality control (or maintenance). In the early days enthusiasm and lax policy outstripped the ability of the maintainers to toilet train the encyclopedia and so guidelines and the power of maintainers had to grow. The success of the encyclopedia attracted problematic editors, those who had strong "tribal" biases and those with conflicts of interest serving SEO efforts. The guidelines have evolved to meet the needs of maintainers of articles in these "battlefield" domains, but outside those areas, the legalism of those policies have a chilling effect on content creation; the Wikipedia enterprise needs to better nurture content creation if its content coverage is to grow and it is not to keep losing content creators.

Expert editors[edit]

Relevant pages: Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Only allow the truth in articles, Wikipedia:Common knowledge

I think the encyclopedia, for a mix of historical and policy enforcement reasons, effectively undervalues expert contributions to its great detriment. Quite a few editors are too suspicious of how experts make assertions in passing that non-experts regard as nonobvious. From the expert point of view such steps may be intuitive, regarded as common knowledge ("So-and-so and so-and-so said as much at this recent conference") and too obvious to be worthy of publication. But when such contributions are challenged by the overly skeptical, current practice effectively favours ignorance and devalues expertise.

Recommendation: Application of the core policy of verifiability should recognise that when experts who lack conflicts of interest maintain that claims are obvious to experts, then some justification of the claim has been made. Common law deriving from the British tradition is the evolving consensus governing the interpretation of law, it recognises "obvious to experts" as a class of evidence, and it has rules for its applicability. Wikipedia should have the same.

It is fair to insist that the expert editor ensures the claim is made in clear and accessible language, and the editor should be able to name another expert who they have confidence will agree with them. It is fair also to disregard claims to obviousness above the level of the casually interested amateur on "battlefield" topics. But I would like the implementation of verifiability policy to accept some tag indicating the desirability of finding a source (perhaps {{source sought}}) as adequate with claims asserted as obvious by experts.

I've generally not had problems making my own contributions within my domains of expertise - "obvious to experts" has sort of been the rule in many of the areas I have created most content - but I have seen other experts suffer from this excessive skepticism and become demoralised.

Source reliability and deletion practice[edit]

Encyclopedia maintenance requires both scrutiny of sources to ensure they adequately justify content and a deletion policy that keeps standards high by excluding articles that contain no valuable content and are likely to be a maintenance problem in the future. However, the use of venue as a proxy for quality of sourcing both greenlights problematic content and excludes worthwhile material out of hand. Likewise, the criteria for notability is often not a good proxy for the actual interest of the topic. Outside of excluding original research and entirely promotional material, Wikipedia's deletion process is, in my opinion, far too deletionist.

Recommendation: We should regard a source for a claim as reliable if it refutes reasonable doubt about the claim. Bias in sources can be handled by good NPOV authoring practice, and venue only suggests what kind of review claims have had, it does not eliminate the need for editors to evaluate the material.

Recommendation: Articles should be regarded as notable based on an assessment of general interest in the topic.

I've authored some articles that I considered to contain enough sufficiently reliable sourced material to show they were Start Quality encyclopedic material and seen them die in the deletion process. When I have participated in AfDs, it has usually been to argue against the kind of deletionism I criticise here.

I'd like to see the idea that venues can accumulate notability through bringing several notable works to the public; this view is unpopular, cf. discussion at

Editor support[edit]

On a positive note, Wikipedia provides excellent facilities to support not just maintenance but also content creation. I particularly appreciate the Wikipedia Library Card Platform. [1]


  1. ^ Recommendation: we should thank the WP:LIBRARY team.