User talk:Colin Douglas Howell
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Hi Colin. I'm not quite sure what kind of response you were looking for, so I'll just pick out a couple of points for discussion. Please be aware that I'm not speaking for anyone but myself here, though. By way of preface, I'll note that it seems to me that we agree in at least general terms on what the intended audience for these articles are, which I think you characterise perfectly as the educated layperson interested in aero engines.
Also note that the comments I made to Trekphiler were in the context of a suggestion of adding more engine detail to articles on the aircraft; I noted that the articles on engines should and generally did include greater detail. So, having said all that...
I guess that my major problem with the article as it stands right now is the volume of pure technical specifications; which you also seem to acknowledge as a little excessive. Wikipedia articles on aero engines (and aircraft) generally provide the details of one, specific, representative subtype. I realise that in this particular case, it's complicated by the diversity of engines that were marketed under the Wasp name. IMHO, the article badly needs to be broken up, as the article family on the Wasp is.
On a more philosophical level, my stance hasn't changed; you may note that the books pictured in the stack are all encyclopedias or encyclopedia-type works; I maintain that this is the level that we should be pitching our articles at. Wikipedia is intended to be an encyclopedia, not a compendium of any and all information available on a subject. An encyclopedia is a first word on a topic, not the last :) So it's quite natural that the reader should sometimes be left "wanting something more" - perhaps this is even an ideal for an encyclopedia article - an appetite-whetter. And, again ideally, the article shouldn't just leave the reader wanting more, but should include pointers to sources of greater depth and more complete information.
Responding now to issues of reporting power, I agree with everything that you say and would only add that the best way of informing the reader of, for example, how the manufacturer coaxed more and more power out of a particular design is to explicitly discuss these developments in the article's prose rather than simply providing tables of figures that demonstrate it.
I think the guideline as it currently stands (and indeed the specifications template itself) are way over the top, and certainly can't fault you for following the model provided. Someday, when I have the time and energy to devote to it, I'd love to lobby for change there. I think it's a splendid example of what can go wrong when guidelines are formed "from the top down". Good policy, on the other hand, crystallises and codifies common practice. I certainly haven't seen much at all amongst our aero engine coverage that is reflected in the example in the guidelines!
Finally, I hope that you don't feel that I singled your contributions out for criticism; I only mentioned the Whirlwind article only because Trekphiler had suggested it as an ideal for the level of technical specifications that a Wikipedia article on an aero engine should contain. I think that you and I both agree that this probably isn't the case!
- Hi Colin, I might be able to help here. I have been going through the engine companies slowly, making navboxes for them and generally trying to improve the individual engine articles. I have not got to the American engines yet but I have looked at the 'Wasp' family briefly. Give me a shout if you want to discuss anything. I need some more engine books for Christmas!! Cheers Nimbus (talk) 21:07, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
Hi again, and thanks for the invitation to comment. My first impression is that the "pitch" of this article is exactly spot-on.
- Thanks! That's good to hear. (Further replies in-line.) --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 07:55, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
... I think that one of the challenges of writing (good) engine articles is developing a historical narrative on a subject that has the potential to be nothing but facts-and-figures. I think you've achieved that! I wonder if this inherent problem is why Gunston adopted the manufacturer-based approach he did in his Encyclopedia (that I noticed you've referenced) rather than separate entries on individual engines. ...
- Actually, I haven't referenced Gunston's encyclopedia at all, since I don't have a copy. I carried that reference over from the original article, thinking "maybe I should keep this", but all the material in the new article is from stuff I have written or looked up. So I've just removed that reference; including it seems misleading. (Or do you think I should keep it under "Further reading"?)
- Yes, if you haven't used him, best to leave him out. The book is well worth purchasing though; certainly the best "general survey" of aero engines I've come across.
... Another Wikipedia contributor who is very skilled at engine narratives is User:Maury Markowitz - if you've poked around our aero engine coverage at all, I'm sure you've encountered his work. He's also got a list of his engine contributions here. If you're seeking further feedback, I'd certainly recommend dropping him a note.
- I'll definitely take a lot and may drop him a line.
Honestly, the only "criticisms" I can offer are nothing more than stylistic nit-picking; I have nothing substantial to offer on the actual content itself. So, for whatever they're worth, I'll present these nits as dot-points:
- The article needs an infobox; see Rolls-Royce Merlin for an example of how to implement this. (it's a recently-adopted convention, so still being rolled out)
- Done. Though the thing (especially the image) is rather large and thus throws off the placement of the other photos. Wasn't sure what to include under Major Applications, so I picked the three best-known aircraft types. They aren't the most representative types, though; maybe a couple of the most numerous ones should be included.
- Placement of other images is always going to be problematic; remember that other for people who aren't using the same screen resolution as you are going to see something different anyway. Alternatives include moving the photos to a different section of the article, or placing them in a gallery section at the end (this second option would also allow you to include more images, like the nose of the Spirit of St Louis close-up that we have on Commons in the R-760 category.
- Lawrance Aero Engine Company, Wright-Bellanca WB-2, Stinson Detroiter, Waco 10, and Ryan B-1 Brougham should all be wikied. Don't be afraid of redlinks - they're how we grow. A few years back, most of the links around here were red. As this has changed, people seem increasingly hesitant to leave redlinks in articles. Practices like linking to a bluelink manufacturer instead of a redlink aircraft, or piping to a related (but distinct) type (as you did with the Brougham) are particularly problematic, since when the article on the Waco 10 does get created, the links that should be already in place won't exist, and will be difficult to find without a concerted hunt for them.
- Fixed. (Actually, in the original article this was split from, I had already done this for the last three items you mention, but someone changed them:
- My apologies! I should have checked the edit history before casting aspersions.
- Fixed. I've now tried to be fairly consistent on that.
- There are a number of statements in the article that attribute a motivation rather that just describing an action: the Navy feeling that air-cooled engines were more suitable than water-cooled engines, feeling that Lawrance could not supply their needs, Wright and Curtiss not being interested in producing air-cooled engines; this type of statement ideally ought to be cited to some source.
- Actually, all the statements in that paragraph are from the same source, the one in the reference at the end of the paragraph. However, that may not be clear as written. Should I add ref tags for all of them?
- Yes - this makes it very clear what the source for these comments was.
- In the "Variants" section, the designations should be bolded. ...
- ... We often try to include production figures in here, when available. Actually, maybe the duration and volume of production are two basic "factoids" that aren't neatly encapsulated anywhere (but there's scope for them in the infobox, if nowhere else).
- Alas, I don't have production figures for the individual versions; in fact, I can't even find a clear combined figure for all the Whirlwinds up to the J-5. The only figures I've found (from this sheet) lump all J series engines together, which means mixing figures for J-5 and J-6 Whirlwinds. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 07:55, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
- The references in "Further reading" should be presented in a standard bibliographic style; probably only a link to the first page of the article in Flight is necessary.
- Still need to do this. I'm a bit unclear on what you have in mind; do you mean include only the first page link for Flight as part of its Citation template, and make the McCutcheon article also a Citation template?
- Exactly; and the annotations can still stay as they are.
- Since all the external links are to the one website, and are to general gallery pages rather than pages specific to this engine, these should probably be replaced by a general link to enginehistory.org or its gallery page, with a note to the reader about the type of material available on the site. Link rot is a real problem for Wikipedia, and although small, privately-owned websites like this are the main culprits, they're not the only ones - when the NMUSAF opened their new website a couple of years back, it broke every one of many links that we had to their old site at WPAFB - I think we're still cleaning that up. Alternatively, since the article already has an "engines on display" section, maybe some of these links could be provided as footnotes?
- What do you mean by "footnotes": standard "ref" tags or something else?
- Yes - "ref" tags
- Part of the problem is that the AEHS galleries are sorted by location or photographer, not by engine, so finding stuff is harder than it should be. Originally I was putting in links to individual images, but that was creating too many links... --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 07:55, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
- OK - then building them into the ref tags is probably the best approach.
- Again, very glad to hear it, and also appreciate your feedback. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 07:55, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
- No problems :). I have, however, just moved the article to Wright R-790, which is more in keeping with the naming conventions. This also displaced a redirect from that name that was still pointing to the general Whirlwind article. Once again, great work! :) --Rlandmann (talk) 21:42, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
Hi Colin - and sorry for my extreme tardiness in writing this note - my attention has been elsewhere. I'm ashamed to observe that if I'd seen problems with the article, I would probably have responded sooner, but when all I have to offer are my congratulations on what I think is a job very well done, it's taken me over a week to do so. Please accept my apologies on this account - I think that it's a great article, and should have said so sooner. --Rlandmann (talk) 00:01, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing something that had me (not local to the area) confused. It was clear from looking at a map that the modern Pointe-Aux-Trembles was way too far off for the Arnold/Montgomery story to make sense. Magic♪piano 21:59, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Spacecraft / Capsule
Incidentally, as you appear to be interested in this subject area, I noted on the Aurora 7 talk page that the insignia currently shown is the wrong color. Is that something you might be interested in fixing? Thank you. SpaceHistory101 (talk) 22:49, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
- Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I don't think that's something I can help with, at least not at the moment, since I don't really know anything about the Aurora 7 mission. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 07:11, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
The Space Barnstar
|The Space Barnstar|
|For your work with the Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle article, and, in particular, the beautiful gallery you've created for it on Commons. Excellent work! Colds7ream (talk) 10:11, 11 May 2009 (UTC)|
Boeing 247 edits
Copy/edit form my talk page: "I have a few questions:
- This edit reverted my edit about the 247's forward-sloped windscreen not being unique to Boeing. May I ask why?
- That edit also restored the quote "Ordered off the drawing board", moving it to the intro. I had removed this phrase because, as written, it's not clear what it's trying to say, and I still feel this way, so I'm wondering why you restored it.
- You seem to prefer hand-coded citations to the use of citation templates. Since you mention the MLA Style Guide, I assume this is for style reasons, and I do prefer your style for book references, but I thought that Wikipedia prefers that the templates be used.
Hi Colin, thanks for your note, one by one:
- that edit about the sloping windscreen may have simply been caught up in the maelstrom of revisions and I can re-add it or a suitable facsimile; I think it had more to do with your note rather than the edit as I saw no citation source.
- When statements are in quotes, it's because they are verbatim quotations and this one even had a reference source with it so they normally should not be removed unless there is a major reason to delete the statement or it is unsupportable. I did check with the original source and saw it was "word-for-word" so I reinserted it with a cite link right next to it. Further to the statement's significance. As you know, it was not standard practice at the time to have aircraft ordered prior to a prototype or development aircraft was proven. Although Boeing's 247 was not the first aircraft to be ordered on the strength of its design or concept, it was noteworthy to identify that the unusual "state-of-the-art" features in its conceptualization, led to immediate orders. Luckily, it was one of the cases that "if it looked right..."
- Wikipedia has not recommended, mandated or required templates for reference or bibliographical records and since the template you introduced had at least two "bugs" in it, I simply reverted it to "scratch cataloging" and kept the details intact.
BTW, I like all the edits you made, even catching the glaring error about the use of flaps which probably existed in the original article. As you know the rather docile landing speed of 62 mph for the Boeing 247 precluded the need for flaps. FWiW, I will continue to assist you in working on this article which is one of my very old, "oldies but goodies" articles. Bzuk (talk) 03:34, 27 July 2009 (UTC).
Thanks for the quick reply, and I really appreciate the feedback and compliments. Sorry it took me a little while to get back to you. I see you've updated things a bit further since this reply.
- I see you've revised the sentence on the forward windshield slope to explain that some other contemporary aircraft also used it. Thanks. My use of a footnote was kind of clumsy and didn't really fit with the surrounding references; I guess I was being lazy.
- I understood that the phrase was a direct quote; it was the meaning of the phrase itself which puzzled me. However, I argued with a friend over that meaning for quite a while, and his response convinced me that it was standard usage in certain contexts and that I was being a nitpicky twit. :D By the way, your detailed explanation above really clarifies matters, and you might consider incorporating it into the Design section of the article, since it seems to be a rather important point.
- Understood. It might be nice to get the template issues fixes, but I'm sure that's a battlefield you'd rather not wade into. :)
Again, thanks for the feedback. I'm especially glad you noticed the one regarding flaps, and your added explanation in the article for why they weren't necessary is a nice touch. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 20:43, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the laugh
Hi Colin, I noted your removal of an aircraft type from the applications list because only one aircraft used it. There is no rule that I know of that says single aircraft are not to be listed, indeed we list every aircraft application, if known, for completeness. There is an engine task force with guidelines at WP:AETF where this can be discussed if necessary. Cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 19:33, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
- I'm afraid it's a rule I set myself when I first started working on the Whirlwind articles, to keep the lists of Applications both manageable and meaningful for the reader. But perhaps I should have proposed it for wider discussion. As I see it, several problems arise if you allow unimportant aircraft produced in small numbers to be included in the Applications list of an engine article. Such aircraft are usually inserted there by editors who happen to be working on that aircraft, so you end up with a list biased towards those aircraft which editors happened to be interested in, rather than a representative list of common uses for the engine. To eliminate this bias, you could require every such aircraft application to be listed, so that the reader will get an unbiased picture of the full variety of uses. But if the engine was widely used, as the Whirlwinds were, such a list may be difficult to compile and may turn out to be so long that it bewilders the reader. Also the large number of trivial uses in unimportant aircraft may make it hard for the reader to see the significant uses in important aircraft. I don't consider myself a deletionist, but I guess this is really a notability argument. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 20:01, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
- Well I suppose that your rule is at odds with what the other engine article editors are doing. Many of these application lists are uncited, put together by searching through WP for aircraft that use the engine which can lead to problems as often the aircraft article is wrong. To get round this I add an inline cite to the application sections to show that the list came from a reliable source like this one. You can see there that there are a lot of aircraft types (some very obscure) but handled with three columns keeps the list tidy. Sometimes the redlinks that appear in these lists prompt editors to create articles, one editor is certainly doing that at the moment. It all helps to build the Wiki. Cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 20:12, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
- I am afraid that I don't understand your logic at all, if a list of aircraft using a particular engine gets to an unmanageable size then it can be split into a 'list of applications' article per WP:SPLIT? We don't have one yet to my knowledge, the Bristol Jupiter is probably the biggest application list and nobody is complaining about its size. If an aircraft type is 'unimportant' then it should not have a wikipedia article and should be taken to AfD with notability concerns?
- I'm beginning to question my thinking myself. At the time I started thinking about this and came up with that rule, all the Whirlwind engines were in a single article, which was clearly a mistake in retrospect. So the potential list of applications was huge. I was also worried that other editors might think that the applications list was excessively long, so I tried to keep it pruned myself. In so doing, I wanted to make sure that the list was "fair": that it did not exclude aircraft with a relatively large number of uses while simultaneously including ones with a very small number. I still think that's a good thing to keep in mind, but if you guys prefer "inclusive" lists, of course it would be better to add missing types rather than delete existing ones.
- I'm still doubtful about "one-offs", though. Is it really necessary to add a aircraft type to a engine's applications list just because someone happened to convert a single, otherwise unremarkable example of that type to use the engine? That seemed to be the situation with the Waco entry which started this discussion.
- Also quite worried that you recently removed a populated Commons category from another Wright engine article, more photos will undoubtedly fill that category in time, there are many, many Commons categories with only one image at the moment, why delete it? You are, by admission, setting your own rules which surely will cause problems when other editors add to an article? I am not following you BTW, I just have most of the aero engines on my watchlist and the Wrights are 'lighting up'. Cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 02:56, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
- Sorry about that, I was pretty much thinking, "gah, that empty External links section looks ugly. Hmm, it does have a Commons box there--oh, but that only has the infobox image, so it doesn't add anything new. Guess it can go--it can be added back later if more images show up." I haven't changed it back yet--would it be OK to add the box back in the same location while still not having an empty External links section?
- By the way, while I have set my own rules at times, that's usually because I'm not aware of an existing rule, or because I'm hopeful that there might be wiggle-room to expand existing convention (e.g. including some specifications for additional variants). I really don't want to cause trouble for you guys. :) And don't worry, I don't mind that you're keeping an eye on those articles. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 03:50, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
- There are no 'rules' because of WP:IAR but there are 'guidelines'! I wrote some guidelines when we started the engine task force a year ago and tried to avoid 'over-policing' it all. Some guidelines have appeared this year as the result of discussions (one I can think of is grammatical tense). Yes, the Commons tag can go at the top of the last section of an article so it does not have to be in External Links, it took me a while to find that general wiki guideline and only discovered it recently. An alternative to deleting an empty section header is to 'no-wiki' it so it is there for when links are added. I'm about to re-organise the engine task force pages so that they are the same as the other aviation task forces and will expand on the few guidelines that we have and link to general MOS ones that over-rule local 'quirks'. The 'unwritten rules' have evolved purely by comparing similar articles and formatting them if major differences of style appear. I am pleased that you are helping to improve the American piston engines, they don't get much attention, many other countries are neglected but we are getting round to them slowly, the problem is often lack of reference sources. If you are going to continue improving aero engine articles then you could join the task force, there is a userbox, we certainly need more people. Cheers Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 11:38, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Hi Colin, I see that you've been busy lately, adding a bunch of refs from the Flight archive.
As it's useful and full of content, you probably won't be surprised to hear that one of the admins is now trying to delete the wiki article on it. You might like to air an opinion. Andy Dingley (talk) 03:01, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
- Yeah, I just figured that the technical descriptions in Flight might provide useful reference material for Wikipedia aircraft and aero-engine articles, so I decided to go through and add some potential reference candidates.
- Some admins get a bit overzealous, so it's natural that false alarms happen from time to time. The situation appears to have settled down now, though, so I think piling on at this point wouldn't accomplish much. But thanks for the heads-up. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 03:30, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Happy 10th Anniversary of Wikipedia!
WQA and the removal of citation templates
Hello, Colin Douglas Howell. This message is being sent to inform you that there currently is a discussion at Wikipedia:Wikiquette alerts regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. Thank you.
The issue is at WP:WQA#user:Bzuk and the removal of citation templates. Thanks, Andy Dingley (talk) 14:03, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
G'day from Oz, and sorry for the delay in replying - I spent Easter a long way from 'civilisation', with no internet or mobile phone acess. Anyhoo, my comment was directed at the claim that it is the only DC-3 in regular commercial service. YSSYguy (talk) 04:42, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Looking for information on the venerable old 68000, I came across your edit 
Do you have a source of/on this info? I believe the 68000 was formally introduced in September 1979. I can't find any solid info on engineering samples, quantity production, or speed grades then available. A May 1982 article states 8mhz tops, with 12.5 due.
Herein Adam Osborne states that no working 68000s were delivered in 1979  I don't know if he means internal samples, engineering samples or regular production. I would guess engineering samples.
- Yikes, that edit was a long time ago, before I knew what I was doing.
- Sorry, no, I don't think I have a source suitable by Wikipedia standards, at least not one that I can remember. Looking back, I now think that bit about the release dates of various speed grades would be considered WP:Original Research. If I remember right, I was deducing speed grade introduction dates from the earliest production date codes that I could find for those speed grades on chip collector websites (examples: , , ). While that may produce valid estimates for the first production of those grades, it certainly doesn't fit Wikipedia verifiability standards. It would be better to use sources like engineering journals or datasheets from the period.
- I suspect citations could be found to support those claims, but I don't have time to hunt them down now. Feel free to chop the claims out.
- Heh, I was just in the process of adding a note to your talk page to let you know, but you beat me to it. :) No problem, feel free to edit things as you see fit. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 17:30, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
Travel Air 6000
Hello Mr Howell. Thank you for kind remarks re images etc posted on Wikipedia - I will try to continue - perhaps at a somewhat slower pace than hereto! I've absolutely no problem with your correction re the Travel Air - "the truth will out", as the saying goes - one of the strengths of Wikipedia! Yes - one Mr Ogden was a source - put no-one is perfect! Regards RuthAS (talk) 11:03, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Glad Tidings and all that ...
Infobox photos of ironclads HMS Lord Warden (1865) and HMS Caledonia (1862) should be swapped.
To you and yours
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BMW V and VI
Gunston states clearly that the BMW V was a V12, so it is his mistake. Oddly, Fred Gütschow's book of German flying boats says the Robbe II had BMW VI engines, which were V12s. He gets the power right for the V12, so I think he may perhaps have confused the Robbe II with the Romar. At least some contemporary sources, eg , pair the Robbe II and BMW Vs. Cheers,TSRL (talk) 16:07, 2 October 2018 (UTC)
- Thanks for the reply. But that led me to investigate the Robbe II, and as a result I now think the evidence shows Gütschow is right that it used BMW VIs, not Vs. It's inappropriate to give my detailed argument here; see the talk page of the Robbe article for more. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 11:45, 4 October 2018 (UTC)
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In a change note for Timeline of Star Trek you said
- Fix common misuse of "bemused"; it means "confused" or "bewildered" and is not a synonym for wry amusement.
Merriam-Webster disagrees; their definition #3 is "having or showing feelings of wry amusement especially from something that is surprising or perplexing". Dictionary.com is similar. (Several other sources do not include that variation.)
But in the context of that article I do prefer your wording.
- Thanks. :) The trouble with "common misuses" is that if they are common enough, they become accepted, and dictionaries are supposed to be descriptive, stating how the language is used, rather than prescriptive, stating how it *should* be used. So it becomes a matter of opinion and a source of argument. I suppose "questionable use" would have been a better choice for the edit description. In fact, I made the change because a friend complained, quote, "someone doesn't know the difference between 'bemused' and 'amused'. colin should fix that." :D *shrug* --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 17:12, 27 March 2020 (UTC)
Uncivil editor Mark Lincoln
As an involved editor, but I would greatly appreciate your participation in the ANI discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Uncivil editor Mark Lincoln. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 12:36, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
- Sorry to trouble you again, but the ANI discussion of Mark Lincoln has become increasingly bizarre and I don't think I can progress it on my own. Maybe I should retire from it? Any further participation from you would be most welcome. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 00:08, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
- Sorry, I've been kind of reluctant to get further involved with that. I do suspect you should set it aside, as it looks like you're getting rather fixated on it, which has the effect of making you look like the guilty party in the eyes of the admins there. I sure as hell don't approve of Lincoln's recent attitude, but I'm not sure what administrative sanction would be appropriate at present, if any. --Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 00:43, 23 October 2020 (UTC)