User:Jorge Stolfi

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    I am a professor of computer science at the State University of Campinas, Brazil. Most of my work outside Wikipedia is related to computer graphics, computational geometry, image processing and numerical computing. I have also worked in computational linguistics and graph theory, and I have spent a lot of time analyzing the Voynich Manuscript.

    I am the author of all edits by and I have also edited occasionally through, a shared IP (since aug.2009).

    Please do not add comments to the talk pages of my subpages (like this one), I am almost guaranteed to miss them. Use my main talk page instead.

    Irrefutable proof that Wikipedia admins do not care about the project[edit]

    There is a widespread illusion in Wikipedia circles that its administrators are nice helpful guys who care for the project. But here is irrefutable proof to the contrary:

    When editing an article, the body of a bibliography reference can be entered in two ways: either inline, right where the reference is cited, e.g. was found by somebody<ref name=WSom>W. Somebody (1998), "...</ref> that...
    or at the end of the article, in the "References" section, in the format
    <ref name=WSom>W. Somebody (1998), "...</ref>
    <ref name=Smith>John Smith (2010), "...</ref>
    The second format, called LDR by the Wikipedia admin cabal, makes both the text and the references immensely easier to edit. Editors should be told that the first time they enter an inline reference. But, most importantly, the Wikipedia server should automatically move the body of every inline reference to the end of the article, in the LDR format, inventing a name for it if does not have one.
    Since Wikipedia administrators have failed to do both things,during all those years that the LDR feature has been available, it follows, by iron-clad logical deduction, that they are a bunch of sadists whose greatest pleasure is watch us poor editors suffer with the unspeakable mess that inline refs have turned every article into.

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

    Advice to new editors[edit]

    Do not waste time reading the Rules and Manuals in the "Wikipedia:" space. Ignore any commands to do so. Do not be impressed when older editors quote those Rules to defend their views. (Every one of those rules was written by a handful of people who wanted to impose their views on thousands of editors who had other views, without their approval.) The only rules you need are: be helpful, be polite, be tolerant, use your brain, think of the readers, look at other articles, imitate what is good, and try to improve what isn't.

    Advice to old editors[edit]

    Do not quote Rules and Manuals to defend you views. Do not tell other editors to go read them. Every time an old editor throws a Rule at a new editor, Wikipedia loses another editor. Every time a fellow editor quotes a Rule at me, I stick another pin into his doll. 8-)

    Non-breaking spaces are evil[edit]

    Wikisource is becoming increasingly complicated (and watchlists are becoming increasingly hogged) by edits that contribute very little to its readability and nothing to its usefulness. One example is the use of non-breaking spaces in the wikisource to control spacing and line breaks.

    TeX math is better than Wikifaked math[edit]

    Another thing that contributes to mess up the wikisource (and scares away many potential editors) is the use of wikisource tricks and templates, such as "''f''(''x''<sup>''k''</sup>)" = f(xk), instead of <math>...</math> with TeX notation, as in <math>f(x^k)</math> = . Please, let's switch to the latter, it is better for readers and editors.

    Missing templates[edit]

    There are many templates that I sorely miss in Wikipedia. Here is a small sample.

    The death of Wikipedia[edit]

    Seriously now: Wikipedia is dying. Why? What can we do about it? My opinions are here, in case you care to know them.

    Please do not use {{cite}} templates[edit]

    Seriously too: dear fellow editor, I beg and advise you to please do not use the {{cite...}} templates to enter source references. That is not only a waste of your time, but actually a significant *dis*improvement over formatting the references by hand.

    In the source text, the {{cite}} template call is at least twice as long as the hand-formatted version; it is much harder to read, and makes the surrounding text much harder to read too. The text it generates is no better than what one could get by hand, and is often much worse. For journal references, for example, it uses the compact citation format 37(10):1-23 — that was invented by technical journal publishers *to save paper*. The explicit format "volume 37, issue 10, pages 1-23" (which, by the way, is often used in the websites of technical journals) is more suited to the medium and to the typical readers of Wikipedia, who cannot be assumed to be acquanited with academic conventions.

    There are several other disadvantages of the cite templates. For one thing, each variant has its own set of keywords; and if you use the wrong keyword (such as "publication" instead of "journal", or "tilte" instead of "title") the corresponding field is simply omitted without warning. It does not easily accomodate special situations, such as "Harald Stümpke [=Gerolf Steiner]" or "volume 10, pages 990-999 and volume 11, pages 1-30". If you copy-paste a reference from some external place, you will find that it is much easier to format the reference by hand than to fill in the fields of a {{cite}} call, whether directly or through the {{cite}} form. And so on.

    Like many (too many) other features in Wikipedia, the cite templates were created by a handful of enthusiastic editors without a clear analysis of cost/benefits, and posted by them as if they were a "consensus" --- which they most emphatically are *not*. Then many other editors started using them in the mistaken impression that they are somehow good for Wikipedia --- which they most emphatically are *not*. I used to do that myself until I realized the sheer idiocy of those templates, and what the word "consensus" actually means in the Wikipedia guidelines.

    So my advice is: forget the {{cite}} template, and just typeset the references by hand. It will save you a lot of time and grief, and you will get better-looking and more reader-friendly refs.

    Proposal for out-of-body references[edit]

    [This entry has lost its relevance now. Just use the <references>...</references> feature in the "References" section (see above). In case you must, the old text of this section was moved to the beginning of User:Jorge Stolfi/Out-of-body references. --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 16:08, 21 February 2013 (UTC)]

    Main contributions to Wikipedia[edit]

    Significant new pages[edit]



    Physics, geology[edit]


    Oxocarbon acids, anions and salts[edit]
    Phenols, quinones, and hydroxyquinones[edit]
    Hydrocarbon molecules, ions, radicals[edit]
    Cucurbitane derivatives and other Momordica compounds[edit]
    Other organic[edit]

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    Food and drink[edit]

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    Substantial factual contents[edit]


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    Archaeology, history, geography[edit]

    Religions, legends, spiritualism[edit]

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    Major reorganization, rewording, and copy-editing[edit]

    Food and drink[edit]


    Archaeology, history, geography[edit]

    Religion, mythology, spiritualism[edit]



    Books, music[edit]


    Physics, chemistry, electronics[edit]


    Gadgets, tools, concoctions[edit]


    Other edits[edit]


    Stolfi Stolfi