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LA2 is the Wikipedia identity for Lars Aronsson, Sweden (http://aronsson.se/lars/).

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about: Year in Review (late February 2002)

LA2, Febr 18, 2002: I want to explore the time dimension. Traditional encyclopedias don't have one. They pretend to be published momentarily, and to contain the eternal truth, which is of course not the case. On the other hand, newspapers, magazines, journals and historic "timelines" do have a time dimension, which is the only way to find anything in them, unless someone compiles a keyword index or makes the text full text searchable. Online knowledge banks should be able to combine the features of an encyclopedia with those of a timeline. But how? Wikipedia has taken a path of making each year and date-of-year into a link, e.g. May 14, 1814, called the year-in-review system. How useful is this approach? We cannot know this before we try it, so I'm helping to implement this system. This is my current approach:

There's a problem with this--I go to "most wanted" and find long lists of random years, linked to by other years that have little or no real content. I also get them a lot when I ask for a random page. I'm not opposed to the time approach to encyclopedizing, or I wouldn't be working on the day-of-the-year pages; I do have doubts about lots of blank pages linking to each other. Vicki Rosenzweig

Vicki, that's a valid point, but I hope it is a temporary state and that these 1000+ pages will soon be filled with useful information, both from "pages that link here" and from external sources such as my own Telecom History Timeline (http://aronsson.se/hist) (yes, feel free to use that information in Wikipedia). But it is also possible that the entire Year in Review system is wrong. Maybe it doesn't scale. Maybe it could be done all different. But how? And where are the limits? I don't think we can know before we tried it. --LA2

about: Swedish monarchs (early February 2002)

Thanks for the pointer on nomenclature on Oskar I - royal names are giving us fits - especially since a non-native speaker of English keeps adding genealogical information from such a variety of sources that one has no idea how the next name will be spelled! --MichaelTinkler

Hi, LA2, nice work on Sweden - but can we please standardise these names? First, please add "of Sweden" to royal article titles - many names and numerals can be duplicated among different countries. Also, though, it's normal encyclopedia practice (I'm not including Wikipedia here - we need a standard practice) to use the ruler's name in the form common in the language of the encyclopedia - Gustavus Adolphus thus isn't only Latin, it's also English, since we never devised our own substitute for that form. I'm also personally for leaving out names after the numeral, hence "Gustav II of Sweden" (with redirects of course from Gustavus Adolfus and Gustav Adolf), but others will have their own views.

As I've said elsewhere, the use of English in this context isn't anglocentrism, it's a convention reflecting the tendency of kings and nobles to move about and to rule polyglot entities (e.g. Emperor Karl V = Carlos I of Sweden, and his successors could validly have names in German, Czech, Hungarian, French, Italian, Slovene etc. if we were to go by the language of their dominions). I hope we can all discuss these issues and come up with an agreed standard, because otherwise we're going to end up in an awful muddle. Cheers. David Parker

Comment from LA2: Michael, the commentary is now moved to Swedish monarchs. I have continued to add some structure (and more names) to that page. David, you sure have a lot of ideas. I disagree with putting "of Sweden" after everything, because this would be just like a hierarchical structure of subpages. In most cases the numerals do make the names internationally unique (royals and nobilty have been moving around Europe for centuries, so this has been taken into account already), and the cases that require disambiguation aren't worse than any other words, terms or names. I also strongly disagree about removing the names after the numerals, which would be in complete disrespect of all established practices. I have changed all occurances of Gustaf II Adolf (the Swedish spelling) to Gustavus Adolphus, since this latin name form seems to be the most used in English literature, but there is also an English form Gustav II Adolph, which is used by the Microsoft Encarta. -- February 10,2002.

Hi Lars -- I don't think there is another Oscar I, but we are trying to standardize nomenclature, so 'of Sweden' is appropriate. Please let us know if you disagree -- there have been several discussions -- mostly on history sandards and my page. Feel free to weigh in! Thanks -- JHK

Another way of looking at nomenclature is that since wikipedia isn't paper, economical but obscure is not a goal - of Sweden helps readers know what we're talking about. It puts the burden on entry-writers to use the full name and pipe it down to a shorter one [Oscar I of Sweden|Oscar I], but that's worthwhile. The numbers don't help nearly enough with some names. How many Henrys are there? Alexanders, both papal and royal (this is what led to the current papal nomenclature [Pope So-and-so XIV] despite the fact that many papal names are not in use by non-popes). I'm all in favor of more explicit if slightly fuller nomenclature. --MichaelTinkler

Michael, maybe adding "of Sweden" is worth your while, but not mine. Where do you draw the line? You could go on an add "Oscar I who is a guy and was king of Sweden which is a country in Europe which is a continent in the northern hemisphere" for all that I care. If I'm going to write a page on the history of the Swedish parliament in the 19th century, it should be obvious that Oscar I refers to the king of Sweden. In other pages, where this is not obvious, I can add "of Sweden" outside the brackets.--LA2

I just googled a bit. The only human "Oscar I" on the first several pages was indeed the one we're talking about. However, "Oscar I" is also a class of Soviet/Russian submarines--the Kursk was an Oscar I--and the name of an American satellite launched in 1961. Either of these might well be the subject of a Wikipedia article. Vicki Rosenzweig

about: Orders of magnitude (Fall 2001)

November 2001: I'm back in Wikipedia, observing, providing comments, sometimes contributing, but not very actively. I'm a member of the wikipedia-l and intlwiki-l mailing lists. My own Swedish Wiki has 3000+ entries, which makes it 50% bigger than the German Wikipedia.

October 1, 2001: I started my own Wiki in Swedish (http://susning.nu/) which is a dictionary and a second home for my Swedish wireless LAN group (http://elektrosmog.nu/) and a hackers jargon dictionary and a gazetteer and a few things more, which makes it different from the Swedish Wikipedia. Actually, the only difference is that it doesn't pretend to be an encyclopedia, because I still cannot understand why distinguishing between encyclopedias and dictionaries should be useful in the 21st century. Those who want to explain this to me should do so not in words, but by contributing to the Swedish Wikipedia.

I like your additional comparative measurement pages, LA2, but 1e0 is a bit odd; wouldn't '1' be simpler; also redirects from things like "one cubic metre" would be handy. --Dweir

Yes, maybe you're right. Nothing stops anybody from adding these redirects. See the discussion in talk:Eob.--LA2

thanks for the additions to the spanish wikipedia --AN

about: Wikipedia is not a dictionary (May 2001)

May 2001: I joined Wikipedia and wrote a few hundred articles (including the first versions of book and library and information science), then left on May 21, after a disagreement with Larry Sanger on the principal difference between an encyclopedia and a dictionary.

A brave fighter can do with a short sword, for he is not afraid to go close to his enemy. The way to acquire knowledge is by close and intense study of the subject matter. My purpose with contributing to Wikipedia is not to make a lasting and useful encyclopedia, because I think that requires a whole lot more organization than this, but I think that I can learn something from using and contributing to this collaboratively edited hypertext.
Hi, LA2! You wrote: "a lasting and useful encyclopedia, because I think that requires a whole lot more organization than this." As an encyclopedia editor, I am now of the opinion that a lasting and useful encyclopedia must first exist--and the best way to put it into existence if it's a wholly volunteer project is to get rid of the official organization wherever self-organization can do. Please see http://www.nupedia.com. :-) --LMS
I would say existence is a necessary but perhaps not sufficient requirement. But the only way we can find out is to create it. I agree on nupedia. --LA2
Hi, LA2

I just munched on your Information Theory page. You might like to check to see if you agree. -- TedDunning

LA2, in my opinion, Wikipedia is not a dictionary, and it shouldn't be treated as one. --LMS
I now see the limits of this project. I'm out of here. --LA2 (21 May 2001)
Hey, Guys, Don't be silly! Who don't want short entrys should write more. (And, BTW: Look in some ``real encyclopedias: Their's ofter not more than one or two senteces. Who cares?) -- IAm.
LA2, really! Why would you leave? Just because I gave you a criticism? --LMS
Yes, please don't take it personally; I don't think anyone would like to see you go. It's just that the vision of what Wikipedia is to be isn't the same for each person. I think that many of the articles which have been started (e.g. the ones on closeted, Mu, etc.) would be perfectly fine for an encyclopedia if they also included historical background on the terms. For instance, "closeted" might include information on Oscar Wilde or other notable figures whose lives changed significantly (for the better or worse) once they admitted homosexuality; "Mu" might include information on the discovery of its significance scientifically, at least in physics and probably in many other areas I'm unfamiliar with. Unfortunately I don't know the backgrounds of many of them, and so haven't supplied them, but that doesn't mean that the entries are useless, by any means. It simply means that for now they resemble an entry in a dictionary more than an entry in an encyclopedia. But please don't be discouraged. --KQ
Here's another request that you stay. If you want to write definition articles, do so. If others don't like them, they can add to them. It's as simple as that. -- Stephen Gilbert StefanRybo

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