User:AlexanderVanLoon

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Hello, I'm Alexander from the Netherlands. I received a master's degree in Public Administration from Leiden University in 2012, after earning a bachelor's degree in History from Utrecht University in 2011. I discovered Wikipedia around 2005 and made my first contribution on 30 January 2009. On that day I added a plot summary to the article about the 18th century English novel A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. If you want to find out more about me you can visit my website. All my contributions (over 2,500 as of August 2014) can be seen on the page User contributions, which is found on the left side of this page, under the header Tools. I summarize my most important contributions on this page.

Contributions[edit]

A large part of my contributions consist of relatively minor improvements. I often add infobox templates to articles, especially Template:Infobox ancient site and also Template:Geobox/type/river and Template:Weather box. I look up geographical coordinates for articles which miss them. I fix spelling and grammar mistakes. I correct references and properly format them with citation templates. I have also uploaded some images on Wikimedia Commons in order to use them in Wikipedia articles. I ask people on Flickr to change the license of their photos to the appropriate CC-BY-SA license so I can upload their work to Wikimedia Commons, but I also upload my own photos.

However, I spend the most time on writing new articles and improving the content of existing ones. This includes translating articles from the French, German and Italian editions of Wikipedia. I understand these three languages reasonably well but I can't translate them without the aid of Google Translate. Apart from the English Wikipedia, I sporadically contribute to the Dutch Wikipedia. My most notable contributions are listed below, which include articles entirely written by me and existing articles which I have improved considerably.

Classical antiquity[edit]

I have contributed most actively to articles about classical antiquity because so much articles in this category need improvement badly. A great deal of them still have content which is copied from the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854–1857) or the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911). As a consequence these articles are often outdated because more recent research has yielded new discoveries. The articles I have improved significantly are:

Other subjects[edit]

As an aspiring polymath I have worked on articles in different fields as well:

My ideas about referencing on Wikipedia[edit]

My ideas on how referencing on Wikipedia is done best are shown in the article Sybaris. The referencing style I employed there was inspired by the article on Alexander the Great, which I've never edited myself. In summary, I always use citation templates, Template:Sfn and link to pages and/or line numbers when the referenced work is available on Google Books or elsewhere. This makes references easy to verify for the readers. When I reference ancient authors I always give all the details of the specific English translation I used. This is important because newer translations often contain extensive comments and notes to place the work in context, older translations do not profit from recent scientific insights.

Wikipedia's readability[edit]

According to the website Readability of Wikipedia the readability of Wikipedia is relatively low. The website allows for calculating readability, so I try to check all the articles I edit and try to improve readability if I see possibilities. Because I've worked as a commercial textwriter I understand how important readability is and think it deserves attention.

Reading Wikipedia on widescreen monitors[edit]

If you use a widescreen monitor, you will notice that Wikipedia does not set a limit on the margin of the page, unlike other websites. This will stretch sentences to great widths and makes the text optically difficult to read. Of course you can resize your window to fix this, but that's not practical. To work around it, you can add the following custom CSS to to the Vector skin in your preferences:

#bodyContent { max-width: 48%; }  #mw-head { right: 52%; width: 48%; }

I copied this from Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)/Archive_96#Widescreen_Margins and adapted it to suit a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels on a 23 inch monitor. This will only work if you are logged in though. Using 48% is just enough to have a row of five thumbnails if an article uses an image gallery.

However, the best solution would be for Wikipedia to specify a more convenient maximum page margin. I intend to find the appropriate channel to request a change of this design aspect.