A great milestone

Today is a very special day. It’s indeed a great milestone for our community. Our friend Enrico Gregorio, also known as egreg, completed one year of TeX.sx. One year devoted to help TeX users through their journey in the typographic land, one year spreading kindness and friendship across the whole world. His profile says “visited 365 days, 365 consecutive”. If I could, I’d replace the counter by the ∞ symbol; after all, egreg is with no doubt in the pantheon of great TeXnicians. It would be a sacrilege to count his days in our community. Like Augustine of Hippo once said, “what is time?”.

At the moment of my writing, egreg’s reputation is now 75,148. And counting, believe me. Even the StackExchange algorithm can’t track this number. If we do the math, it’s an average of 205.8 reputation points per day. It’s like reaching the daily reputation limit – our beloved “rep cap” – every single day. With an impressive number of 1,895 answers so far, egreg made the community a better place, built with a vast knowledge and with a fine touch of wisdom. By the way, his first answer was accepted.

As a mathematician and educator, egreg always uses his intuition to look to a question through several angles. Doing so, he helps us to free our criativity and stimulate thinking. The human touch, the sensibility, the insight, they are all there, in every single answer. There are no downvotes. Not with egreg.

Everybody is unique, each one of us has a different story to tell. When answering a question, egreg makes every questioner feel welcome. Do you know why? Because egreg introduces TeX to the questioner, and not the other way around. There is a strong commitment.

Not only a “fanatic” in the main site, egreg is also a chat resident. It’s a pleasant moment when we all get together and talk about everything. He’s an expert on several subjects, including sports, music, food and travel. Every day you can find him in the chat room. Why don’t you go there and say “hi”? The chat room is vibrant, full of life. Also thanks to egreg.

It’s really an honour for me to write a few lines about my great friend. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to put into words and express the importance of egreg for our community and for every one of us in particular. Thanks for everything, Enrico.

I once read a phrase which comes to my mind in this very moment. It goes along these lines: “A fantastic educator writes in the board with one hand while the other one moves the whole world.”

7 thoughts

  1. Thanks Paulo for putting into words so eloquently what I am sure all of us feel… Can’t count the number of times he has helped me personally with such detailed answers that actually explain what is going as oppsed to just giving the fix, which just encourages all of us to learn even more… Don’t know what else to say but Thanks egreg.

  2. Thanks Paulo for the great post. Every word you have written is more then true. So — Congratulation Enrico Gregorio (alias @egreg)

  3. Thanks, Paulo for this great laudation. A suggestion: I think it should also be mentioned besides the — currently 1896 — answers of egreg that there has not yet been a single question: Enrico is an only giver. We all are desperately waiting for his first question 🙂

  4. I am a newcomer to TeX/LaTeX2 & LaTeX3 and benefitted from Enrico Gregorio’s answers on two occasions. What struck me about them most was that they were short, elegant, straight to the point, and worked perfectly. His second answer happened to be my very first introduction to LaTeX3 and I am happy to say that after some dreadful days and nights of meandering aimlessly around in a pitch-black room (the syntax of the interface 3 manual is daunting to say the least) I stumbled over Joseph Wright’s blogs starting December 6 and it was as if someone had turned on the light. interface3 has ceased to be inaccessible. But back to EG. It occured to me that Guiseppe Peano was Italian, and so was Enrico Fermi. Apart from Euclid’s algorithm of finding the greatest common divisor of two integers and its associated expression as a linear combination of those two numbers I know of no five lines of mathematical text that would be more succinct and powerful than Peano’s characterization of the natural numbers, and of Enrico Fermi it is said that no matter how complex a question was put to him he never answered by saying things like: and 3 iterations of that kind of stuff, and therefore … here is the answer, take it or leave it, and aren’t I well-read, he always went straight to the very foundations and showed the shortest possible path that led to and explained the complexity of the question. The long and the short of my comment is that, and I hope I am not boring you with my lengthy comment, when I saw Enrico Gregorio’s second answer I thought of Peano and Fermi and concluded there must be a tradition in Italy to produce people like that, and that’s as simple as I can put it.

    1. CORRECTION: … by saying things like: so and so said this or that on page such and such in paper xyz … and three iterations of that kind of stuff, …

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