User:LA2

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LA2 with internal ID 50 is the meta user identity for Lars Aronsson, Sweden. See also the English, German, and Swedish Wikipedia. I'm the founder of Project Runeberg, a website of digitized Scandinavian literature. I used to have a wiki named susning.nu.

May 12, 2011: An example:

Bridge Length (metres)
Golden Gate Bridge
2737.4
Brooklyn Bridge
1825

September 13, 2009: I left foundation-l. The unmoderated list was hijacked by a few people with nothing to say, but posting a lot. Too much meta discussions followed. The Wikimedia Foundation did nothing to stop them, so I have to stop this flow of mud from entering my inbox.

September 9, 2007: The other year, when I was trying to improve the help pages of the Swedish Wikipedia, I found that many pages had been started from an existing technical mechanism in the software, such as templates. Even though templates are very general purpose, their use has evolved into a few strong categories such as navigation boxes, infoboxes, source references, etc. Infoboxes and their subvariety taxoboxes in biology are in fact older than templates, since they started as simple HTML tables, copied into each article. So rather than writing a help page for templates, I wrote a help page for infoboxes, trying to describe how they were used for a purpose (what and why) rather than which software mechanism they were based upon (how). There is a definite date when support for templates was introduced in the software. The same goes for MediaWiki's table syntax and categories. But very similar use patterns predate these introductions: designing tables with HTML or preformated text, and using list pages as a precursor for categories. The entire system of tools for structuring the world's knowledge (as is Wikipedia's goal) can be fully understood only if we document the historic evolution of these mechanisms, use patterns and their associated policies. This reasoning is not limited to Wikipedia. On Wikisource, the use of scanned page images and proofreading instructions predate the introduction of the "Page" extension. Categories are used not only for arranging articles by subject, but also for indicating quality standards and grouping articles with deficiencies (such as stubs). Maybe Wikibooks and Wikinews has similar patterns?

So, is anybody documenting this historic evolution of tools? When reading through the History of Wikipedia article on the English Wikipedia, it strikes me that this article writes the history, rather than writing about the history from a distance. There are references to a few history papers, such as Larry Sanger's recollection of the early days, but nobody seems to have written the History of Wikipedia outside of Wikipedia itself. So the WP article is very much "original research", which it shouldn't be. With Wikipedia still in its first decade, perhaps that is asking too much. But two thirds of that decade have past, and maybe its time to think about writing the history. Why not start on Wikibooks? My own interest would focus on the technology, tools and policies used to organize knowledge on a large scale. This is not just the history of the Mediawiki software, but also how the software features are used by the large Wikipedia community. Someone else might prefer to write about social interaction between users or certain kinds of social and systemic bias, such as gender issues.

The closest Wikibooks project that I have found is Wiki Science, but it is a little too wide in scope. Looking around Wikibooks, I'm getting depressed by all the half-started and abandoned projects. This makes me think twice about starting a new Wikibook project, since I don't want mine to be among the abandoned ones. Maybe inactive and unfinished projects should be removed (deleted or pushed out of sight, to the "attic"), to improve the quality of the average project? I'll leave these thoughts here for now and see if they mature.