User:Jan Hidders

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Jan Hidders got his PhD at Eindhoven University of Technology and, after a period as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp, took a teaching position at Delft University of Technology.

He very much likes the idea of a public domain encyclopedia but found that Everything2 had some minor points:

  1. too many features
  2. more than one write-up per node
  3. the contents are not public.

Jan plans to contribute something in the future although he hasn't really found anything yet to contribute. :-} His main interests are Computer science, Mathematics and Philosophy. Rumors have it that he is even prepared to do some research in order to be able to add something to Wikipedia.


Welcome, Jan! Very nice work on the logic articles! --User:LMS

Thank you. Very nice to hear. Maybe even a little too nice, because such appreciation may tempt me to spend more time on Wikipedia than I had planned. :-) --User:Jan Hidders
Aha, you have discovered my evil plot! ;-) --User:LMS

Hey Jan, congratulations. Get yourself a nice t-shirt with "Trust me. I'm a doctor." on it. It works. Trust me. --AxelBoldt

*Big grin* Thank you. But to be honest, although I'm already hired, the Ph.D. ceremony (a big thing in the Netherlands) will take place in December. But then I will get the t-shirt. :-) In the meantime I'm going to see if I can write something in Wikipedia on database theory, which is my real area of expertise. -- Jan Hidders

I disagree with you regarding removing HTML markup from Wikipedia. There are 2 main reasons:

  1. HTML is a World standard, even if no browser that I am aware of completely supports it. However, this does give users (e.g. me) a chance to develop articles off-line, previewing them in their browsers, before uploading them later (copy+paste!).
  2. HTML syntax, with syntactical elements all delimited by < > is probably easier to parse than the multiple character markup you propose.

I am considering expending effort on (n/t/g)roff macros to enable the same source file to be used to generate PostScript or HTML... Rcingham

First, let me reassure you, the issue is as dead as a Dodo if only because far too much HTML has now been allowed already and it will be nearly impossible to come up with a reasonable Wiki-markup to replace it. However, I still feel that allowing HTML tags is probably one of the biggest mistakes in the history of Wikipedia. Let me give you a short summary of the arguments. (1) HTML tags make Wikipedia less accessible. The whole reason that the WikiWiki concept and its mark-up was introduced when HTML was already around was because HTML can actually get quite complicated and is not trivial to understand for people who aren't used to programming and/or creating web pages. If you're interested read the excellent book written by the originator of the WikiWiki idea: Ward Cunningham on what makes WikiWiki tick. The key word is simplicity. (2) HTML tags make parsing harder. The original wiki mark-up could be parsed with some simple regular expression matching but since HTML tags can be nested you need more complex code for this because you now need something closer to a parser for a context-free grammar. If we had no HTML tags we also wouldn't have to bother about filtering out unwanted tags or checking if the present HTML is well-formed. It would have kept the parsing code simpeler, less buggier, and more efficient. Your assumption that HTML tags are easier to parse may be true, but parsing a HTML document is another matter. If you don't believe me, try coming up with a context-free grammar for the syntax and semantics of the pages of Wikipedia. That's still something that needs to be done. (3) There are some other small things such as that having two mark-ups for the same thing can be confusing (it makes people wonder what the difference is between === and <h3> ) but the first two points are really the most important ones. -- Jan Hidders 13:44 Jul 23, 2002 (PDT)

Thanks for your comments, two years late... -- Leandro Dutra.

Main namespace cleanup[edit]

Heya, I've moved Jan Hidders/todo to User:Jan Hidders/old-todo. There's some edit history, so perhaps you want to keep it. Otherwise just delete it (or ask an admin to do so). --fvw* 20:02, 2004 Dec 14 (UTC)