My name is David A. Wheeler, and I specialize in computer security and developing large software systems. I've also written a number of articles on open source software / free software (OSS/FS). My personal website is at http://www.dwheeler.com.
If you want to chat with me, please email me, dwheeler-NOSPAM at dwheeler.com (eliminate the "-NOSPAM"). I do not accept SPAM. You're welcome to add to my talk page instead, but I don't scan it that often.
I have many other interests besides the Wikipedia. My main interest in the Wikipedia is trying to contribute ideas to help the Wikipedia project overall, rather than contributing specific articles. Simply put, I want the Wikipedia project to succeed, and since I don't have time to contribute lots of articles, I'm trying to contribute as I can. I've contributed a general html2wikipedia tool, and posted several ideas to the Wikipedia-l list that I hope are useful. I've also modified various "policy" documents and Wikipedia user documents, in the hope that by doing so I'll influence many articles (not just ones I've written). I do occasionally edit stuff. I tend towards Inclusionism, but I'm not hard-over on it.
Wikipedia tools: html2wikipedia, FEN2Wikipedia
Among other things, I've developed some tools:
- html2wikipedia translates HTML files into Wikipedia's Wiki format. You can get the tool at http://www.dwheeler.com/html2wikipedia (GPL license).
- FEN2Wikipedia translates Chess positions in FEN notation into the "Chess diagram" template; available at http://www.dwheeler.com/misc/fen2wikipedia.html (GPL license)
Wikipedia Article Contributions
Most of my article contributions to the Wikipedia are small incremental improvements. However, I have contributed several articles whole cloth or as a major rewrite:
Chess: Fischer Random Chess (aka Fischerandom, Fischerandom chess, or Chess 960), Chess opening, Descriptive chess notation, Portable Game Notation, Forsyth-Edwards Notation, the annotations for The Game of The Century (chess), Evergreen game (chess), Immortal game (chess), Deep Blue - Kasparov, 1996, Game 1, Bitboard, Chess as mental training. I also seriously rewrote portions of Computer chess, though I wasn't logged in at the time and didn't get much credit.
I especially want to encourage contributors to cite sources. I'm not perfect at it myself... I know I'm not... but I do try!! People are more likely to take Wikipedia seriously when they can easily check the citations.. but that requires the citations to start with. Most other problems can be fixed later on by later editors, but it's often very hard to re-find information; so if everyone works to cite their sources, it'd be better for all.
I proposed that the bottom "edit" info specifically suggest citing sources. I intentionally made it short, so it wouldn't create more load on a user. After posting notices on MediaWiki_talk:Copyrightwarning and Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals) pages, I gave it a whirl. After many days, I found that more people like it than don't like it.
Interesting Articles/Locations in Wikipedia
There are tons of interesting articles in Wikipedia (that aren't about Wikipedia), for example:
- Wikipedia:Unusual_articles points out articles like Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den, Five-second rule, Dihydrogen monoxide hoax, Gimli Glider (another units conversion disaster!)
- Wikipedia featured articles
- List of Latin phrases
- Mozilla Lightning
- Illustrated Wikipedia
Here are locations of interest in or about Wikipedia:
- Downloading Wikipedia (related: WikiMedia Export)
- Wikitech-l Archives
- Wikipedia:Village pump
- Wikipedia:Schools' FAQ
Now that Wikipedia has grown large, I think validation/review approaches will start to become important. But how can articles be rated/validated without losing what's good about Wikipedia? Tricky. Here's where some proposals have been discussed: Article Validation Proposals, Wikipedia:Pushing_to_1.0. Here's something implemented, but not yet enabled, in Wikipedia's software. Wikipedia:Provenance has some discussion; I particularly would like to see some mature variation of temporal provenance information, such as that described in Tom Cross' "Puppy smoothies" paper. I'm very interested in the topic of improving the quality (and preventing vandalism) of Wikipedia articles without destroying the project. I suspect that as Wikipedia matures, its processes will change... just like anything that matures. But maturing isn't easy, and since no one's done anything exactly like Wikipedia before, it'll probably be hard to get "right" (except retrospectively!).
Other specific interesting places include:
- Wikipedia:WikiProject Chess
- Template talk:Chess diagram (updating Template talk:Chess position; one person said this was a good example of Wikipedians working together on a project)
It would be great if every high school student were required to understand what a valid logical argument is -- and what it isn't. Geometry is supposed to help there, but what's really needed is an understanding of what logical fallicies there are so you don't get confused by them. I think it'd be great to spend time teaching the logical fallicies. Take a look at Wikipedia's list of logical fallacies -- and teach them.
Some externally-available tools (other than my own, listed above) are: