User talk:Shanneranner

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Absolutely! Some hints though: have a read of NPOV and write using this style, don't get into revert wars (if they happen, please tell me as I'm an admin) and I suggest not removing opposing viewpoints (however stupid they are). In long experience on this site (as a Christian) you need to include them but if they are opposed then I suggest noting this in the text. A few other things: always site where you have gotten your research from. If John Stott said something, for instance, then write it in a way that shows he said this. For instance "In the Cross of Christ, John Stott says that such and such". Then, reference it at the bottom using citation style.

I can't tell you how glad I am to finally get a seminary student involved here :-) The article was one big stinking mess for a while after one of our more troublesome users started editing it.

Finally: just remember, as a seminary student, you are being watched by lots of non-Christians. Speak the truth in love and don't make personal attacks (that's a hard one). Again, thanks for your help! - Ta bu shi da yu 02:32, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Shane, I see you dropped by once, and hope you return sometime to contribute -- I would be very interested in what you know about controversial topics such as the authorship of the Pauline epistles. In case you haven't noticed already, anything Christianity-related is a bit controversial here, and it's always nice to add someone with knowledge to the mix (especially if they are as calm and well-spoken as you appear to be). Drop me a note if I can ever be of use or aid. Jwrosenzweig 23:22, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Shane, I'm glad you wrote me. I'll do what I can to offer some advice. First off, I see you're at VST (or recently were) -- I did work on history of religion at SFU in Burnaby, and was in your school's library at least twice, if I recall correctly. Anyway, I always like to mention little real-life connections when I spot them. Now, to the question of Biblical articles here.

We have a group of very good editors who collaborate on religious articles and generally do an excellent job. This is a diverse group, including Wesley (Orthodox Christian), Mkmcconn (Presbyterian, as I recall), and several Latter Day Saint editors, including Hawstom, Visorstuff, and a couple others I may have forgotten. They've been mostly focused on the "Mormon articles" and have generally shown real intelligence and care in working with each other. Sadly I think none of them has done much with Biblical scholarship here, though I may be mistaken. Slrubenstein (a non-practicing Jew, I believe--also a trained historian focusing on ancient history) and Wetman (an avowed atheist) do a bit more in that area, in my experience. As you can see, we have a nice diversity of perspective....though sometimes if an article is only touched by one or two hands, it does end up a bit slanted. That may be part of what you're seeing. But the names I've mentioned above are all generally intelligent and professional editors who work well with others and have Neutral point of view as their prime goal.

A much bigger problem is the cranks we have in the area of religion -- a recently banned user named Cheesedreams wreaked absolute havoc in Biblical articles with anti-Christian nonsense. Anything recently touched by her is an almost guaranteed mess, sadly. We also have plenty of drop-ins who spread their personal beliefs anonymously, leaving articles in disastrous states. I've spent time in reclamation projects, converting religious screeds into reasonably decent articles, I hope (Priscilla and Jethro are examples), but I normally don't have the time or knowledge to make them really good.

Perhaps all that wasn't very informative, but I hope it is marginally helpful -- writing here, for good or ill, is becoming a part of a community (and in the neglected area of religion, sometimes part of a semi-functional family, given the low number of users willing to contribute). When you encounter resistance, remember to bring in outside opinion of people who've been around: plenty of editors wake up to the fact that they're being unreasonable when several folks (including names they recognize) disagree with them, but are less likely to see this when it's one lonely voice.

As far as advice in starting, here's what I'd do. Choose an area that you particularly like -- after all, if you can't write about what you like, you'll burn out sooner or later. Then identify the main article in that area, and begin work on it. I suggest copying the text of the article over into User:Shaneranner/Current Project or some similar user subpage. That way you can fiddle with it and experiment without worrying that you'll affect the article directly. Once you've worked out the changes, plug them in to the live article. From there, look at all the links within your article--go to each one, one at a time, and work those pages into order. Gradually, as you get all those articles put together, you'll leap from them to articles they link to. It's easier to do this (and you'll feel a lot more productive and useful) than if you just bounce around haphazard. (For example, when I arrived, we didn't have an article on medieval literature. So I wrote one....but then I saw that there were a ton of red links in the article, so I started writing them. Ultimately, I must have written about 15-20 articles in medieval literature...sometimes stuff I already kenw about, sometimes stuff I had to learn about and write as I went...and it gave me real purpose. I think this could be the same for you.)

If you have no idea where to begin, I suggest picking one of your favorite books of the Bible, and checking its article to see how well it's done. I can almost guarantee that, within the first couple of books you look at, you'll see some deficiencies. A well written article on a book of the Bible will inevitably have links to important Biblical figures and concepts, and probably to some branches of theology, and probably some other related topics as well. I'd think that would go smoothly enough, and would give you plenty to think about. If that idea doesn't catch your fancy, then why not a concept or theological approach that you find fascinating? I was involved recently in polishing presuppositional apologetics into featured article status -- I'm not a PA person myself, but I think it's interesting. I'm sure there are plenty more articles like that waiting to be written.

Finally, once you've settled on an article or a group of articles, ask for help--leave me a note, post the article at Wikipedia:Peer review, leave a note on the talk page, etc. My help may not always be the best (for one thing, look at how long-winded I am!), but many hands make light work, and many eyes catch more errors. If you haven't already, I really encourage you to read Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:Cite your sources, Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, and Wikipedia:Staying cool when the editing gets hot. You'll be doing some much-needed work in an often controversial area, but always focusing on contributing facts that are verifiable, making sure your references are included, aiming for neutral and factual descriptions (even when you have strong opinions yourself), and finding ways to avoid conflict will make it a breeze. I really appreciate your willingness to help, and trust you'll find this place a great chance to stretch your brain, share your knowledge, and inform people around the world. It's why two years of my life have been spent here (and I expect a great many more to come).

If this was too long, I apologize. I try to offer comprehensive advice when asked. :-) I'll keep it much shorter in the future, but felt a "lay-of-the-land" approach was best. Please do ask me for help/advice/anything else you may need. I know my way around here by now, and even when I'm not the best person to ask, I can usually figure out who is. Best regards, Jwrosenzweig 23:31, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)