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Current Wikipedia status[edit]

2006 Checking watchlist a few times a week. Doing the odd bit of article polishing, link fixing, and that sort of stuff.

personal appeal?[edit]

I’m doing this for the child in Africa who is going to use free textbooks and reference works produced by our community and find a solution to the crushing poverty that surrounds him.

Could our Glorious Leader keep his libertarian notions of self-empowerment to himself? Poverty in Africa is caused in large part by the lack of fair trade and crushing debt. I fully support the production of free textbooks for the developing world, but this is just too much.

I still fully support Wikipedia, but I doubt its founder's motives, and I find his political opinions abhorrent.

Is Wiki for everybody, even for those who dokkn't care to educate themselves as to how it works? -- BlackHat on
Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy are part of the charm of childhood. So is God. Some of us grow out of all three. -- Richard Dawkins
La seule chose vraie, c'est la guerre psychologique! -- Savancosinus, La Zizanie, Goscinny & Uderzo
The vote went nowhere and became such a confusing mess and joke that people on nearly all sides of the argument were able to logically argue that their choice was the actual winner. -- no, it's not the "election" of Dubya. It's Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers).
The creationists have no scientific evidence to support their case, so instead they constantly repeat long-refuted pseudoscientific arguments. This has no place in the classroom. If a religion is incompatible with scientific thought, then so much worse for that religion. To argue that it is unconstitutional to only present scientific arguments on a subject that has nothing to do with religion is preposterous -- by the same logic you could argue that the theory of gravity should be balanced with "alternative views" because these guys think they can fly in the air if they concentrate hard enough. -- User:Eloquence, writing on Talk:Creationism.

The state of this page tells you an awful lot about me: I tend to accumulate clutter, I hardly ever delete anything, and my mind tends to wander.

runs through shouting "Wikipedia is more popular than Jesus! Wikipedia is more popular than Jesus!"

need to know[edit]

  • GFDL images All photos I have taken and diagrams I have made for Wikipedia are GFDL. They may not be marked with the tag as they predate its existence. Feel free to add the GFDL tag to any images whose description page states I took the photograph or drew the diagram. You can also move them to Commons if you like, but please let me know if you do.
  • slight wikipediholic tendencies (well, more than slight, I'm apparently 10th in the most active rankings. eek.)
  • administrator, so feel free to ask me stuff on my talk page
  • generally of a crabby disposition, but it's all a front for rampant idealism (or perhaps the other way round. I forget)
  • tendency to ramble, see below.

subpages, attic space, out back[edit]

Memorable mailing list posts:

the following will self-destruct in ...[edit]

I was back briefly after an absence of a few months. But then things like this happen and sap my strength. I don't have the inclination to engage in edit wars.

... but look at the TeX equations! the soft curves of the integral sign! the variables leaping from tree to tree, as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia. ! The Giant Redwood. The Larch. The Fir! The mighty Scots Pine! ... Sing! Sing! [singing] I'ma lumberjack, and I'm okay. ... (men in white coats enter and carry Tarquin offstage)

(In short: I like the new TeX markup.)

Vague rambling biog[edit]

Hullo. I'm Tarquin, for long and complicated reasons. Okay, they're not complicated at all. It's just an in-joke in my family. I may get round to explaining it one day, but it's really not that interesting.

There's a family rumour that we're descended from René Descartes. My great-great-grandfather's family was from La Haye, Descartes' birthplace, and his father was mayor. It's completely unsubstantiated.

Meanwhile, I'm British. With, as well as the French ancestry, a few touches of other European countries thrown in.

Contrary to rumours, I am not an AI somewhere in northern Canada. I'm an AI in England. ;-)

I fall under the "hey, I ordered a cheeseburger" personality type. Not that I'd be seen dead doing such a thing. I'm reliably informed on a semi-regular basis that I'm cantakerous.

Interesting life skills: I have both perfect pitch and relative pitch. I've never been able to pin down just what the term "photographic memory" is supposed to mean, but I do have a good one. Stuff just tends to drop in of its own accord. It's very handy for building up the Wiki Web, as I tend to click if I've already seen a page on a given subject. It also means I regard pages like Mnemonic with complete bemusement: remembering "Roy G. Biv" or "HOMES" seems to me to be an extra burden on the memory, not a lightening. There's the mnemonic, plus what it actually is supposed to represent. "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain" was drilled into me at school, but decoding that to get the order of colours is slower than just visualizing a colour wheel.

I'm a very sloppy typist. I have the unfortunate tendency of saving articles with one or two atrocious typos. On the other hand, I'm an excellent proofreader when it's someone else's work. So karmically it balances out... ;-) I probably fix two typos for each one I leave.

I run a wiki on the Unreal engine here:

Are you wikipediholic test score: 20 (increased now I'm on wikipedia-L)

Feb 2003 revision: 41. I note with interest this question: Do you make edits while drunk or under the influence of other intoxicating substances and find that nobody reverts your changes? ... ... ... some of my finest work is made under the influence of single malt :-)

An end to all edit wars[edit]

Troubled with edit wars? NPOV going down the drain? Tearing your hair out over the latest edit conflict? Fear not. Here's the simple solution:

  1. First determine who is resolutely refusing to budge & making things difficult. Let's call them X.
  2. Identify their nationality
  3. Find the page "list of famous {nationality}"
  4. Add contentious entries. Remove some. Invent some names. Ideally, a pop band whom no-one has ever heard of. Give them a kooky name like "The Wet Fredericks" or "Tiger With Bagels".
  5. Bump this page on RC a few times next time X is around
  6. Reel them into a long and protracted edit was on the list page. Get them deeply riled about how famous or not their fellow nationals are. Imply that no-one cares.
  7. This will completely distract them from their earlier crusade. And let's face it, "list of X" pages are pointless anyway.

Points will be awarded for the best "Talk:list of famous {nationality}" pages. And what do points mean?

Finding stuff[edit]

Arg. I just went looking for the conventions on names of saints. Simple, eh? You'd think so. Well, I had to go through this list of pages:

  1. Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines
  2. Wikipedia:Naming conventions (good start)
  3. Wikipedia:Naming conventions (names and titles) (seems reasonable to expect it here... but no. It says "see the talk page. So I move on...)
  4. Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (use browser's search function to find something in the morass... nope, not here either. Link to another talk page)
  5. and finally Talk:List of saints

... only to find it's not decided yet. Four pages, wandering with no visible signs of organization. This is not a good way to organize things.

Stub Tennis[edit]

We should hold Olympics. Pgdudda mentions "WikiRoulette". I hereby coin the name "Stub Tennis". (I can be fairly sure I've made the name up, a search draws a blank both here and on WardsWiki.) To play stub tennis, do this:

  • Find a stub
  • add something to it, either
    • some vague factoid you remember
    • do a search on the topic or some of the names in it & create two-way links (LinksAreContent...)
  • for stub tennis to work, someone else has to react to its being bumped on Recent Changes.
  • the article is batted to and fro between two or more wikipedians.

Thoughts on Wikipedia[edit]

I wonder sometimes... at what point will Larry Sanger's holographic image step out of the vault and tell us what our real purpose is?

How I ended up here[edit]

For those who really wish to know, I landed on Wikipedia quite by accident in January 2002: I was idly reading an article on operating systems for the next generation of mobile phones (I am not sure why...), which was detailing Micro$oft's foray into this field. The article went on to say that many cool things would be possible with the colour screens that we'd be seeing on advanced models; but that given minimal memory and ways of addressing the screen all aimed at minimizing power consumption, programmers who worked on games on 1980s computers such as the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum would find their skills at squeezing the maximum effiencency out of the minimum code once again in demand.

In particular (it said), the problem of "attribute clash" seen on the Spectrum was again rearing its ugly head. Intrigued by the term - it was implied that it related to colour on the screen - I Googled it, and the first link got me to Wikipedia...

I do of course try and tone done my style when writing Wikipedia entries: I do have a tendency to ramble. ;-)

Rant and Rave[edit]

the rant and rave section is currently closed while I think of something else to complain about

My (current) number one Wikipedia grouse is this: "Venice, Italy", "London, England" and so forth. That is how cities are indentified in the US; not in the rest of the world. A rout through UK train timetables for the few duplicate towns shows they use "Gillingham (Kent)", for example. The same form or "Gillingham in Kent" is usual in newspaper or reference articles if readers may not know which county a place is in. However, in the interests of consistency in page names, we're stuck with the stateside terminology. It's probably all irrational reactions to cultural imperialism. That or seeing that dratted comma always reminds me of Marilyn Monroe saying "Paris, France is in Europe?" in Gentlemen prefer blondes...

Second grouse: bad French. Most Anglophones are shovelled some sort of French at school, and are under the impression that they a) recall it and b) it was correct in the first place. I tidied French phrases used by English speakers, and just spotted Twinkle twinkle little star. Translation is a sticky art, but I wish people would at least ensure nouns and adjectives agree in gender and number.


My principal fields of interest are music and maths, but also a mixed bag of things.

(this list that follows hasn't been updated in ages. as a WikiWeeder, I end up editing the most bizarre articles. I'd never heard of the Holden car company, I have no interest in the Ford Escort, and the Killer poke was just a rumour I'd once heard)

lately, I've started: - Through the Looking-Glass - Arlo Guthrie - Oliver Heaviside - Pink Panther - Henry Mancini - Baron Haussmann - Oulipo - Life: A User's Manual - Joseph Heller - Penrose triangle - Raymond Smullyan (couldn't believe he wasn't already covered... ) - Disability: radical new start and moved older things to subpages. I somewhat see the sense in having the "disability etiquette" page, yet I can't help but think "how would people react to a page called 'how to address a black person'?". Were things like that written in the 1960s? - Fitts' law - Tower of Hanoi (the algorithm I linked to on KnowHowWiki is mine too...) - TGV - Axe historique - Periodic table/Wide Table - Pere Lachaise - Beryl Bainbridge - Companion planting - Spurn - Significant figure (feels like MONTHS since I've actually started a page; so much weeding to do!) - Jodrell Bank (a stub whose progress I look forward to seeing) - Unit vector - Strait-jacket - Laundry symbols -- who first devised these? - VAL - Blackcurrant - Penny-farthing - Babbling

Stuff I've added to lately: - The Simpsons (but, like, who hasn't?) - Goscinny - Paris Metro - French Revolutionary Calendar - Isambard Kingdom Brunel - T.H. White - SAMPA: seeing this bastardized ascii IPA bugged me to the point that I had to dig up the page on it... found it in need of work; made tables and added diphthongs ([faI@]...). I plan to upload recordings of phonemes soon. - Acronym: gave this a polish - Alexander Technique -- it's great. I recommend it. Hard work and most teachers are expensive but it really is worth it. - Mercator projection - Tube map: gave this a rewrite. I've been fascinated by the tube map (& the metro map) as far back as I can remember (Goodfellas voice-style ;) ) - Piano - Octave and Note

Stuff I intend to read up on:

To do:

  • keep an eye out for Ealing, Ealing Studios and Ealing Comedies -- all three links exist, with no page yet. Clean up links when one is created. Also musing which name is most appropriate.

I'm vaguely collecting links to style guides found dotted around: User:Tarquin/Style Guides (this is probably obsolete by the way.) ENFP, apparently. Whoopee-do.

Test of IPA:

t̪ d̪ ʈ ɖ ɟ ɡ ɢ ʡ ʔ ɸ ʃ ʒ ɕ ʑ ʂ ʐ ʝ ɣ ʁ ʕ ʜ ʢ ɦ ɱ ɳ ɲ ŋ ɴ ʋ ɹ ɻ ɰ ʙ ʀ ɾ ɽ ɫ ɬ ɮ ɺ ɭ ʎ ʟ ɥ ʍ ɧ ɓ ɗ ʄ ɠ ʛ ʘ ǀ ǃ ǂ ǁ ɨ ʉ ɯ ɪ ʏ ʊ ɘ ɵ ɤ ə ɚ ɛ ɜ ɝ ɞ ʌ ɔ ɐ ɶ ɑ ɒ ʰ ʷ ʲ ˠ ˤ ⁿ ˡ ˈ ˌ ː ˑ ̪ •