User talk:Oleg Alexandrov

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This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Oleg Alexandrov (talk | contribs) at 20:51, 18 June 2005 (archive time). The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this revision, which may differ significantly from the current revision.

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Let me welcome myself

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Period at the end of formula

I found a solution to prevent breaking the line at the period while still putting the period outside the <math> tags. I created a template Template:nobr for it; see my comment at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mathematics for details. cesarb 19:46, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Thanks. Let us see how the opinions develop on this. Oleg Alexandrov 20:20, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Modular arithmetic and spelling

Hi Oleg,

I have no plans for modular arithmetic theory. I thought per our earlier agreement that the sections on rings, music, art, applications, and 'see also' would be stripped out of the article on modular arithmetic and placed into the article modular arithmetic theory, but I see this hasn't happened. I think the current modular arithmetic article is terribly non-standard point-of-view-ish and unbalanced in its treatment (e.g its obsessed with rings and ideals and yet has absolutely no mention of group theory -- this is just plain bizarre, and is not how the topic is treated in 'mainstream' education).

I thought that the solution to this point-of-view problem was going to be to strip out the modular arithmetic article to its bare bones, keep it at a grade-school level, and then encourage all newcomers to edit the 'theory' article instead, right?

However, I don't really want to touch this prickly cactus again; I'm busy with other things.

Sorry about the spelling, I'll try harder. linas 04:53, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Replied on Talk:Advanced modular arithmetic theory. Oleg Alexandrov 05:20, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Oleg, I'd be willing to nominate you as an admin, if you are interested.

Your time here is longer than 3 months, and you have over 4000 edits, so most people would be satisfied. There might be some reason to wait a few weeks longer - 4 months is better, in a sense.

Anyway, what do you think?

Charles Matthews 14:16, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Hi Charles. Well, I am surprised and flattered. Thank you for your offer. I thought about it very carefully. I woud say, I feel that I will have to decline it, and I probably will not change my opinion for at least three more months. This for several reasons.
First, the big number of edits you mentioned is partially because I have been doing many really small edits, and partially because recently I have been shamelessly employing a bot to do work for me with minimal or no user interaction.
My second reason is that I still feel I am learning to play by the rules, here, so I do not feel comfortable or ready having more responsibilities.
My third reason is that I am still learning how to balance Wikipedia with other things in my life, and this makes me feel a bit ambivalent towards commiting myself more to Wikipedia.
But I do appreciate your offer, and I leave the options open for considering it at a later time. Thanks a lot! Oleg Alexandrov 17:55, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

interpretational notes on mathematics articles

Hi Oleg, I've been reading around the maths area a lot more lately, and it doesn't seem to have many notes to help with interpretation. The articles seem great for people who need a refresher, but not so great for people needing to solidify their understanding (maybe this parallels a possible general tendency for mathematical education to focus on notation and have a total lack of essay-writing etc.). Is this is a deliberate policy or could I start adding interpretational notes without causing a ruckus? (on principle that is, maybe my style or content will cause a ruckus, but that's another matter!) Conskeptical 12:36, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I agree with you that some articles could need to be more elementary or explained in more detail. On the other hand, this is an encyclopedia, and not a collection of lessons; one also cannot in great depth at every step. So, there is some balance to strike.
You are certainly welcome to modify articles to make them easier to understand of course. To not cause much ruckus, as you say, probably it is good to do that carefully, on an article by article basis, maybe first asking on the talk page and such.
So, back to your original question. I don't think there is a delibirate policy to write articles which are hard to understand by non-specialists. It is just, for a given article, the contributors to it probably thought that's the best way they can write it. That's why your contributions are very welcome, again, as long as there is some consultation on the talk page.
If you would like a community-wide discussion of this, you could also post your thoughts at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mathematics. And let me know if I was not specific enough about some things. Cheers, Oleg Alexandrov 15:14, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Thanks Oleg, I will bear all this in mind! Conskeptical 10:46, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Text editor support

See Wikipedia talk:Text editor support. Oleg Alexandrov 03:22, 1 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi, I just wanted to tell you (as this page is linked to from three of your sub-pages) that contraction (mathematics) has been moved to tensor contraction, but the redirect goes to the disambiguation page contraction because of the disambiguation request on it beforehand. User talk:Neonumbers/Neonumbers 10:25, 1 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for letting me know. I will keep that in mind. Oleg Alexandrov 14:53, 1 May 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Oleg, thanks for your Strong support, now it is Jitse's (and your) turn to become admins. Paul August 12:39, Jun 1, 2005 (UTC)

Congratulations! Your promotion is well-deserved and if anything, should have happened earlier! Oleg Alexandrov 17:12, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I saw your changes on Wikipedia:How to write a Wikipedia article on Mathematics and on Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics. Would you mind visiting Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mathematics and comment in some detail what you have in mind? I mean, I assume you belive a wider discussion of Wikipedia:How to write a Wikipedia article on Mathematics should be necessary, then you could as well be explicit and start one. :) Thanks. Oleg Alexandrov 03:36, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I have no personal opinons about how math articles should be written. I was cleaning out Category:Style guides and found this page mis-categorized there. It did not look like it had enough community support to be tagged a "guideline", so I tagged it "proposed" and posted on WikiProject Mathematics as suggested on the talk page, to draw attention to it. If there is enough community support from people interested in math articles, it can be promoted to "guideline" in the future. -- Beland 03:43, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Got it, thanks. When I initiated this article I should have made it explicit what is going on. The material in this page is not new, rather it was moved from Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics, with the relevant discussion having taken place at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mathematics/Archive6#Wikipedia:WikiProject_Mathematics_has_this_article_lost_focus.3F Thus, I think Wikipedia:How to write a Wikipedia article on Mathematics underwent quite a bit of vetting, altough to some digree it is indeed still a work in progress. Oleg Alexandrov 04:34, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Scalar field

Hi Oleg,

a while ago I added to scalar field some formulas which are supposed to explain the difference between a vector field and a scalar field. You removed then, as I expected you to do, saying they don't make sense. I'm talking about this:

The first and third line are equations for the same scalar field, expressed respectively in cartesian and cylindrical coordinates. The second and fourth are for the vector field which has the same components in cartesian coordinates, but not in cylindrical, which is the whole point of these equations. The problem with scalar field and vector field is that they fail to mention this completely. Instead they focus on whether a function maps to R or to Rn, but that is just not the difference. I can form a scalar function to Rn simply by extending the codomain. I realize these articles talk mostly from a vector calculus standpoint, but that includes cylindrical coordinates, does it not? One bad explanation I can think of is that you do not yourself understand the difference between scalar and vector fields. Please tell me this isn't so. --MarSch 14:17, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

This is about the following diff, the section titled "=== Difference between scalar and vector field ===".
My reason was that you inserted those four formulas in the article without any commentary whatsoever. I believe the worst way one can teach something is to write a bunch of formulas without explanation and say "go figure it out!". Oleg Alexandrov 14:46, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yes, it didn't explain them yet. But even a very bad explanation is better than no explanation or even the wrong explanation. And I was reluctant to be bold, so I thought I'd throw in the formulas and see what would happen. Particularly I was interested in how you would explain it, after I'd pointed out the lack of a proper explanation. You haven't said you disagree that there is no proper explanation, but still you remove my hint. It would be really helpful if you would try harder to preserve information. I already put my formulas tidyly in a separate heading, so I don't really understand your need to clean up after.
The reason I dodn't elaborate more is as said, that I like to see what other people do when I indicate a direction I think an article should go. This helps me form an opinion. Explaining what a scalar field is, almost necessitates that you explain also what a vector field is. Thus they might benefit from a common treatment in one article. I see little point in repeating such an explanation in a haphazard way in both articles. This is Occam's razor. Don't multiply what needn't be multiplied. I'm guessing that you would like to keep the articles separate, so perhaps you could indicate how you think the explanation should be made. --MarSch 10:20, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Come on MarSch, you don't like to be bold? You like to first write things a bit, then see how it goes? :) If so, these are qualities you aquired very recently. :)
To be honest, I deleted that part because I did not understand it. And that's to be expected, since there were only formulas, and no words. I would suggest you don't put anything in a wikipedia article which looks really really unfinished. Looks bad on the page. One more remark: words are a much better medium than formulas to convey thoughts. Oleg Alexandrov 16:04, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Also, vector field and scalar field are linked to from many places. They should be kept separate, even if this involves some repetion. This is good pedagogially. Also, if you put too much differential geometry emphasis on those articles, they will be harder to read by physicists and other non-mathematically trained people. We can discuss this in more detail. Oleg Alexandrov 16:04, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You seem to be protecting the status quo. I haven't seen any suggestion for how to improve the articles. I guess I will have to be bold. Maybe that is your suggestion.--MarSch 16:13, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
If you would like to merge those articles, please first post this on their talk page. It is always good to have discussion before rather than after. Oleg Alexandrov 02:12, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hi Oleg, I would like you to know that I've explained in considerable detail the difference between scalar fields and vector fields. Please take another look at it. --MarSch 12:40, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hi MarSch. That is very helpful, thanks. Oleg Alexandrov 14:24, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

extra blank lines

Hello. Generally I also removed extra blank lines when I find them, but the ones in law of total cumulance are there for a reason, and I think you should remove them only if you disagree with the reason. Michael Hardy 21:47, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I visited that page and saw that indeed whitespace had a purpose on that article, improving legibility. So thanks for reverting after my bot. I will now go and replace those empty spaces by explicit linebreak, to make sure my bot does not mess it up in the future. Oleg Alexandrov 22:09, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Dear Oleg, I suggeest to change mathbot's script so that

  • he replaces only MULTPLE occurences by ONE blank line.
That's how it works now! Do you have a counterexample? :) Oleg Alexandrov 15:40, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • he marks these as MINOR EDITS (he's flushing my watchlist !)
I don't know how to make the bot mark things are minor. But they will show up on your watchlist anyway, minor or not, so why it matters? Oleg Alexandrov 15:40, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)

But I wonder whether this activity (rm blanks) is really useful :

  • blank lines improve legibitlty when editing
But if you leave more than one blank line, the spacing is too huge. Besides, most people leave the blank lines by mistake, and in some places there is no blank lines, in some places there is one, in some places there is a lot. Looks bad. Try to see three or four places before I removed the blank lines, and after, and let me know what you think. Oleg Alexandrov 15:40, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • rm a blank line saves 1 byte on the page; but makes a duplicate of the page in the backup database in addition to notifying this change to all users having it on the watchlist - I think it is by no means economical and such operations (if there's noting else to do on the page) heavily increase load on WP without big improvement - why not restricting automated changes on more important things ? MFH: Talk 13:11, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Well, you don't need to worry about the database; there are 8000 only math articles on Wikipedia, of the half a million other articles, many about really strange and uninteresting things. And I change only the math articles.
Now, you are right about flooding the watchlist. I always thought the advantage of having a clean looking article outweighs whatever discomfort one has by seeing one more edit on your watchlist. But I see your point. I won't bother with removing the whitelines unless asked otherwise.
Now, about making automated changes on more important things; that's not easy. The more complicated something is, the less likely it can be done with a bot without active user intervention. Cheers, Oleg Alexandrov 15:40, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)
PS See the big blank space three paragraphs above to illustrate what kind of spaces I am trying to remove. And thanks for calling my bot a he. Could you write a she robot so that my bot would feel less lonely (now, please don't say my faithful he-bot is just piece of poorly commented perl code) Oleg Alexandrov 03:26, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Schwarz-Christoffel theorem

Hi. Good edits to Schwartz-Christoffel theorem. I was wondering if you had any better examples than the one I put in?

Robinh 07:27, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hi Robin. Mine was just a copyedit. About examples; the first non-trivial example which would come to my mind is how one would map an ordinary triangle to the half-plane (maybe start as simple as an equilateral triangle). But I am not sure if the resulting mapping would look as simple as the one for the strip.
This is an interesting theorem by the way, and I am kind of surprised this article was missing so far. Oleg Alexandrov 15:29, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I'm The Drini

I am just wondering, are you the same Drini as the one on PlanetMath? You made me curious. :) Oleg Alexandrov 15:18, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The one in PlanetMath, :) CryptoDerk got me into the Wikipedia bandwagon, and so far I've liked it a lot, it's more dynamic. drini 16:22, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I agree with you this place is more dynamic (but we also have to worry about vandals and hoaxers :)
If you continue being as prolific here as you are over there, we would need to pay you a salary or something. :) Oleg Alexandrov 16:36, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)

No problem, and thank you for the offer. I'm afraid my time online at the moment is very much restricted - my Wikipedia presence has dwindled down to virtually null - but I'll consider joining Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics when I have more time on my hands. — Itai (f&t) 10:30, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Santa Claus

I am using auto-sign. You see my IP-adress but do not get too paranoid because anonymous servers can be used too ;). You are talking about metaphysics and pseudosciense. I'll take your interpretation as suggestion that you are afraid of something. I can talk about the implications to geometry, One Stone's theory of special relativity and Heisenberg's ideas too, if you insist so ;) -Santa Claus

Admin Help

Hi Paul. I want to ask you a favor. Somebody moved gradient to gradient (calculus). This was done without discussion, and without disambiguating the links. I think this is one of those situations in which gradient better stay what it was before; besides the other meaning now put in the gradient disambig page is also mathematical.

So, I wonder if you would agree with me that the thing needs to be moved back, and if yes, if you could do the move (since you have the admin powers). Thanks. Oleg Alexandrov 19:08, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hi Oleg. I agree that gradient (calculus) should be moved back. But I'm not sure that Gradient qualifies as a speedy delete. I have asked CryptoDerk for advice. Paul August 20:30, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)
Ok I've moved gradient (calculus) back to gradient. Oleg you want to write something on the talk page about the move? Paul August 21:02, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)
Hi Paul. Thanks. I wrote something on Talk:gradient and made a gradient (disambiguation) page listing the two meanings. Would you mind putting gradient on your watchlist, in case there is further discussion on the subject? Thanks a lot. Oleg Alexandrov 23:51, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Glad to help. It's on my watch list. Paul August 00:06, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

MathBot's dummy edits

Could you try to replace MathBot's dummy edits to refresh the 'what links here' feature like this one with a so-called null edit (an empty edit without summary)? According to Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#What really links here, this also does the trick, but it does not clutter up my watchlist. Thanks. Jitse Niesen 11:01, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hi Jitse. Thanks, this is very good to know. For now I turned off the dummy edits thing, and soon I will try to see if the empty edit thing works. Oleg Alexandrov 15:17, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Hi Jitse. I tried the blank edit thing. It works if I do it by hand, but unfortunately it does not work if I do it with the bot. I believe the uploading software I am using (MediaWiki) refuses to even submit an article if it did not change, and I don't know how to fix it. Any suggestions? :) Oleg Alexandrov 04:22, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I have no suggestions; I have little experience with either bots or Perl. Just use the old method again. -- Jitse Niesen 11:56, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sounds good. If you feel that thing really bugs you, then let me know. I can have it scheduled to run once a week too. Oleg Alexandrov 14:40, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hardy-har-har. That edit comment caught my eye. linas 15:05, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

That comment was meant to catch your eye. :) By the way, what is "Hardy-har-har"? Something like ha-ha-ha, or maybe some quantum theory jargon? Oleg Alexandrov 15:15, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Hello Oleg

I'm from the german Wikipedia and i'm looking for pictures of Moldova especially it's capital, Chişinău. I've already asked Danutz and he told me that you might be the right person to ask :). Greetings --Perconte 14:21, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hi Perconte. Yes, I am from Moldova. But unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the city. I have been mostly in US in the last six years, and it would be easier for me to find pictures of Los Angeles rather than my home city. :) Oleg Alexandrov 16:55, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Oh no! :) Well, though luck i guess. Nevertheless thanks for you reply! :) cu --Perconte 17:55, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)