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.
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.
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 As a consequence these articles are often outdated because more recent research has yielded new discoveries.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:
- Ancient cities in Italy: Caulonia (ancient city), Cumae, Laüs, Metapontum, Morgantina, Paestum, Palike, Sybaris, Sybaris on the Traeis, Temesa (ancient city) and Terina (ancient city).
- Ancient cities in Turkey: Aigai (Aeolis), Apollonia (Lycia), Corycus (Lycia) Idebessos, Idyros, Kitanaura, Nagidos, Olympos (Lycia), Rhodiapolis and Trebenna.
- Ancient cities elsewhere: Pandosia (Epirus) and Thapsacus.
- Battes: Battle of the Crimissus, Battle of Gaugamela, Battle of the Himera River (446 BC), Battle of the Himera River (311 BC), Battle of Pandosia, Battle of the River Thatis, Battle of the Sagra, Battle of White Tunis (310 BC) Siege of Syracuse (343 BC), Siege of Syracuse (311–309 BC) and Siege of Syracuse (278 BC).
- Mountains: Musa Dağı (Antalya Province), Tahtalı Dağı
- Persons: Niobid Painter, Painter of Berlin 1686, Painter of the Berlin Dancing Girl, Phryne, Polygnotos (vase painter), Pseudo-Scymnus and Scymnus.
- Politics: Ecclesia (ancient Athens), Ekklesiasterion, Isopoliteia and Sympoliteia (treaty).
- Pottery: Hydriske.
- Sanctuaries: Claros, Phyle Cave, Timpone della Motta and Vari Cave.
- Tombs: Tomb of the Blue Demons, Tomb of the Bulls, Tomb of the Dancers, Tomb of Hunting and Fishing, Tomb of the Reliefs, Tomb of the Triclinium and Tomb of the Whipping.
- Tribes: Daunians, Iapygians, Messapians, Peucetians
- Rivers: Trionto, Coscile, Crati, Krathis, Lao River, Italy and Torbido.
- Roman villas: Villa Poppaea, Villa Romana del Tellaro and Villa Romana di Patti.
- Others: False door, Macellum of Naples, Tarquinia National Museum, Regional Archeological Museum Antonio Salinas, Nympholepsy, Punta Stilo, Stadiasmus Maris Magni, Stadiasmus Patarensis and Triple-disc cuirass.
As an aspiring polymath I have worked on articles in different fields as well:
- Burial: Flat grave, List of necropoleis, Necropolis, Necropolis of Soderstorf, Tomb of Ptahmes.
- Companies: Ximian.
- Cuisine: Ajwain, Apulian cuisine, Gram flour, Kanterkaas, Masaura, Mozzarella, Buffalo mozzarella, Friggitello, Pan de Cádiz, Pasta con le sarde, Peperoncino, Ricotta, Tortillitas de camarones and Whey cheese.
- Literature: Aristotle's Masterpiece, A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (plot summary), De Proprietatibus Elementorum, On the Universe and Pseudo-Aristotle.
- Medical: Vasodilation#Cold-induced vasodilation (section), Hunting reaction, Kneecapping and Winter swimming.
- Software: Evolution (software).
- Travel: Tourism in India (lead section), Tourism in the Netherlands and Visa policy of Nepal.
My ideas about referencing on Wikipedia
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.
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.
You've probably noticed that Wikipedia does not set a maximum width for the content of its articles, unlike many other websites. On large monitors this will lead to extreme line lengths, making Wikipedia difficult to read. Of course the browser window can be resized to fix this, but specifying a maximum width would be the only proper solution. I'm not aware of why this layout decision was made, but when I have time I want to find the appropriate channel to request a change of this design aspect.