Interview with a Wiki Ninja : Carsten Siemens

Namaste All and I believe it was a great start of the year for everyone.

Welcome to the Monday interview. Today we have Carsten Siemens with us who spends most of his time on the TechNet Wiki to make it more original by working on plagiarism which is easily possible when dealing with such a large community. 


Let's us know the man who helps people by inciting them to be creative and contribute original content.


Mahesh : Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?

Carsten : I’m fascinated by computer science, mathematics, and music – and I’m unable to sort them by precedence because they depend on each other.

I studied computer science (artificial intelligence, image processing) in Germany. I have been working for Capgemini in the area of custom software development for 17 years now. As a senior technical architect I am responsible for the technical architecture and implementation of (typically large) business information systems and service-oriented application landscapes.

I feel comfortable in both “worlds”: I’m working in .NET as well as in Java projects. My friendship with .NET started with .NET 1.0. A personal highlight was my role as technical chief architect of one of Germany’s largest .NET applications.

I would like to share some thoughts about “large projects” with you:

  • Terms like “large project” only address the quantity aspect. My experience is that the success of a project is driven by two other aspects: Quality and People. And I think the same applies to TechNet Wiki.
  • Large projects typically require higher abstraction levels. However, every abstraction should be based on practical experience and in-depth knowledge and understanding of e.g. technologies. That’s why I’m programming selected core concepts even in the largest project.

My favorite .NET technologies are: C#, F#, ASP.NET MVC, WPF, Entity Framework, and LINQ.

In the area of mathematics my focus is on analysis and number theory. I’m also interested in the intersection of computer science and mathematics – especially in the works of Donald Knuth.

I also enjoy playing classical and Jazz guitar, and sometimes I try the piano and alto sax. For me even music is highly related to computer science and mathematics, but that’s another topic.


Mahesh : What do you do with TechNet Wiki, and how does that fit into the rest of your job?

Carsten : It can be quite hard to be up-to-date in Java and .NET technologies, when you are for example absorbed in a long lasting Java project. TechNet Wiki helps me to keep in touch with Microsoft technologies.

Mahesh : What are your big projects right now?

Carsten : I would like to focus the answer on my TechNet and personal projects. In TechNet I have to take care of two “tasks” – an easy and a hard one.

    • The easy one: I’m one of the moderators for German translations.
    • The hard one: I’m supporting Peter Geelen and Naomi Nosonovsky in the area of focus “Spam, Plagiarism, & Article Deletion”. Since last November I’m also supporting the pirated content scan of TechNet Guru Contributions.

Some of my personal projects:

    • Visual Studio is lacking a sort feature. I recently finished a flexible VS extension for sorting. The next step should be an upload to the VS Gallery and a TechNet tutorial article.
    • I’m successfully using Bing Search API in one of my personal projects. The Bing search API is not restricted - neither legally nor technically - to web applications. A TechNet article can help members of this community getting started.
    • I’m a heavy user of Mathematica, a system for symbolic computation. Just for curiosity I started programming a clone of this application. Sounds useless? My motivation: It’s fun to discover Mathematica’s underlying software design by observing its behavior, and it’s a nice opportunity to work with LALR parser-generators. I started with Java, but I may portittoF# or Scala.

 Mahesh : What are your favorite Wiki articles you’ve contributed?

 Carsten : I would like to turn the spotlight on three articles, and the stories behind them.

              In June 2013 I incidentally found some pirated article and started a mail conversation with Ed. I did some further research. Guided by random and intuition I easily found 66 plagiarisms until the beginning of July. This was               the trigger for a long mail to Ed, which analyzed the findings. Ed’s answer is nicely summarized by his citation; “Holy crack!” In case you are interested in what I wrote to Ed: The article is nearly identical to my mail.

             This article was written three months later. In the meantime the Community Council extended the focus area "Spam & Article Deletion" to "Spam, Plagiarism & Article Deletion" and was working on a strong framework.                      Improvements should be measured. This article gives facts and figures about plagiarism until the end of September 2013. Until September 485 plagiarisms were found (and the current number is 570). Handling                              plagiarism is an ongoing task.

             Article tags are frequently changed, but due to a Wiki bug is hard to see the actual changes. 

              Instead it should look like this:


              This article and the corresponding Gallery contribution are my “give-away” for you: it fixes this Wiki Bug.

My User Page shows the complete article list. 

Mahesh : What is the difference between “plagiarism” and “pirated content”

Carsten : You can use both terms interchangeably. However, as a tag name they have different meanings:

The tag pirated content marks plagiarized or pirated content. The tag plagiarism is used for articles which address this topic.

Mahesh : What are your top 5 favorite Wiki articles?

Carsten : At the moment I’m very much focused on the topic plagiarism. I will be pleased, if the following articles help to raise the community’s awareness:

And where is the fifth article? Well, I like Sandro Pereira’s Blogpost BizTalk TechNet Wiki Articles: Can I? Or Should I?, especially his final considerations, which address the right mindset and the importance of quality.

Thanks Carsten, for this interview.
If you have any doubts or questions then feel free to ask .
-- Wiki Ninja Mahesh
Comments (11)
  1. Congralutions on your interview Carten! I’m very glad to hear that you are actively working on plagiarism in this Microsoft TechNet community. Once again, Congratulations!

  2. Great interview Mahesh and Carsten! Nice to get to know more about you Carsten!

  3. Wow! Congratulations Carsten. Great interview.

  4. Durval Ramos says:

    It’s very nice to know a little more of this great translator and collaborator of the Community which is Carsten. Thanks for your excellent job of dissemination of knowledge (as a translator) and support the creation of quality content (monitoring pirated content).

  5. @all: Thank you for the encouraging feedback.

  6. Regarding “Wiki Bugfix: Changed Tags on The History Tab” — That’s a great point. I’m checking to make sure that’s on our list and properly weighted. Thank you to Mahesh for making this interview happen! I’ve wanted to see it for quite awhile now! Carsten, I’m not sure if you’d like to blog with us, but if so, the next step is 12 more comments on this blog (you need 30 total). You meet or have destroyed all the other requirements. =^)

  7. @Ed: Thank you for your positive feedback and the chance to join the blogging team!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Welcome back for another analysis of contributions to TechNet Wiki over the last week.

    First up, the

  9. Anonymous says:

    Welcome back for another analysis of contributions to TechNet Wiki over the last week.

    First up, the

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