User:Brian McNeil

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• Brian McNeil

Looking for my Photos? Then you want Wikimedia Commons.

Right Guy.
Wrong Parliament?
Image: Andy Mabbett.

As it amuses me to frame it, "I'm so old I was born before Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon"; albeit, only during the preceding February. That was in central Scotland, which I've now moved back to after over fifteen years based in/near Brussels, Belgium. Good to be back? Take a look at some of my photos, and you decide.

The Phoenix Bar, on Edinburgh's Broughton Street. Image: Brian McNeil.
The Phoenix Bar, on Edinburgh's Broughton Street.
Image: Brian McNeil.

As far as Wikinews goes, I first edited in January 2005. I didn't do much more until September that year when I wrote my first full article, Wal-Mart accused of workers rights violations. Since then, I've been main author on over 100 articles; done in-depth coverage of Thailand's insurgency problems in the Muslim-Malay southern provinces; documented the downfall of Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand's then-Prime Minister; dabbled with reporting on newsworthy Wikimedia items such as the US government's vandalism, the "vetted" version "Wikipedia for Schools", and the making of the 2,000th Featured Article on English Wikipedia, with some more-recent 'crossover' work involving significant image contributions to Wikimedia Commons. The handful of Wikinews Featured articles shown below may not seem a lot, but at present the project has little more than 100 in total from over 16,000 published.

In the intervening time since first becoming involved I've moved up to be one of the project's bureaucrats and administrators. In 2008 I was invited, expenses paid, to attend the annual Wikimedia Conference, Wikimania 2008, held in Alexandria, Egypt; Craig Spurrier and I spoke, and answered questions, on Wikinews—attempting to encourage attendees to try and contribute to the project; I also managed to write about the US State Department's Diplopedia, which uses the same software as Wikipedia. Subsequent to that I was given privileged contact information with Google News, leading to the English-language Wikinews now being listed in Google News.

A few photos of Craig and I talking at Wikimania are available on Wikimedia Commons; I prefer not to use those here, as those poor photographs are an unpleasant reminder of then-unknown health problems. Later in the year I spent seven weeks in a Walloon hospital having a blood clot removed from my leg, the responsible two-centimetre vegetative growth (my conscience) excised from my heart, and being treated with extremely high doses of antibiotics for a serious chest infection—that's doses measured in grammes, not milligrams.

The Windmill, performing live at Røyken Blues Club, Norway.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Whilst still in Belgium, I instituted the current archiving policy, applying and refining it, as I put around 4,000 articles into an archived state. I have extensively worked on the Style Guide, various other guidelines and policies, plus the current welcome template {{howdy}} and the {{press release}} template for those non-clueful enough to try and get those on a neutral news site.

I also set up the domain, predominantly used to give accredited reporters more professional email addresses. If you want to help keep that running, donations would be very, very welcome! Given some of the stories we've covered, I'd love to move the hosting from the U.S. to Sweden and switch to SSL for the entire site.

When I'm not testing the limits of what might be considered 'sanity' on this Wikinews project, I have been known to dabble in other arts. May 2010 saw me invited to visit Norway where a good friend I previously entrusted with some poetic musings had released a first album/CD with his band, The Windmill. Including one track where my poetry had been fused with music and the given credit enabled me to join the UK's PRS for Music, possibly even having an opportunity to receive royalties for my musings. I took the photo to the left at the launch concert using a Nokia 3G phone.

The nine-years-in-the-making album, To be continued... has – to-date – received particularly favourable reviews in the Prog-Rock press. It is available via iTunes, several other online stores, and a physical copy (on CD) shouldmay be ordered on the band's website. (If you need any more convincing, check out this review on Background, a Dutch Prog-Rock magazine. )
In February 2011, the album received a "Best Classic Rock Album of 2010 (Newcomer)" award from Norway's Rock FM. Later in 2011, I was again able to visit Norway where the band were supporting Fish— former front-man of Marillion

"I'm an analyst, this is me analysing the news."
Brian McNeil

    "Facts don't cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news."

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
 — Margaret Mead.

– My Featured articles –
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Table of contents

Scotsman... with a Box

The Ayebox, Edinburgh.

Accreditation Details

  •  Alt. Email: <firstname>.<lastname>
  •  GPG Key ID: C03BC391EFD52BB9
  •  Fingerprint: 7C3D FFD5 5ED5 B80F 1D18 A52B E84C 8928 6ABC A7AD


Useful 'bits'

My first edit (January 15, 2005) | Block user | Outdated Review Pages | User Rights Management | GNews reqs (old) | Ubuntu notes (again, old)

My Contributions

Some favoured quotes

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

"There is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States"

"Take your t.v. tube and eat it
And all that phony stuff on sports
And all those unconfirmed reports
You know I watch that rotten box
Until my head begin to hurt
From checkin' out the way
The newsmen say they get the dirt
Before the guys on channel so and so"
Frank Zappa, from Trouble Every Day

"There is a war on drugs, and the people who are ON drugs are winning."


Gongs | An attempt at a compact main page design|old mainpage design attempt | Israel-Muslim relations coverage | Definitive article template

Media mentions

Once upon a time in-progress stuff

(Now, well, {{stale}})

Building Linux systems, repeatedly

Time after time, need to build from scratch - or with a bit of "separate user partition" sneakiness.