Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mathematics
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Are Wikipedia's mathematics articles targeted at professional mathematicians?
No, we target our articles at an appropriate audience. Usually this is an interested layman. However, this is not always possible. Some advanced topics require substantial mathematical background to understand. This is no different from other specialized fields such as law and medical science. If you believe that an article is too advanced, please leave a detailed comment on the article's talk page. If you understand the article and believe you can make it simpler, you are also welcome to improve it, in the framework of the BOLD, revert, discuss cycle.
Why is it so difficult to learn mathematics from Wikipedia articles?
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a textbook. Wikipedia articles are not supposed to be pedagogic treatments of their topics. Readers who are interested in learning a subject should consult a textbook listed in the article's references. If the article does not have references, ask for some on the article's talk page or at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Mathematics. Wikipedia's sister projects Wikibooks which hosts textbooks, and Wikiversity which hosts collaborative learning projects, may be additional resources to consider.
See also: Using Wikipedia for mathematics selfstudy Why are Wikipedia mathematics articles so abstract?
Abstraction is a fundamental part of mathematics. Even the concept of a number is an abstraction. Comprehensive articles may be forced to use abstract language because that language is the only language available to give a correct and thorough description of their topic. Because of this, some parts of some articles may not be accessible to readers without a lot of mathematical background. If you believe that an article is overly abstract, then please leave a detailed comment on the talk page. If you can provide a more downtoearth exposition, then you are welcome to add that to the article.
Why don't Wikipedia's mathematics articles define or link all of the terms they use?
Sometimes editors leave out definitions or links that they believe will distract the reader. If you believe that a mathematics article would be more clear with an additional definition or link, please add to the article. If you are not able to do so yourself, ask for assistance on the article's talk page.
Why don't many mathematics articles start with a definition?
We try to make mathematics articles as accessible to the largest likely audience as possible. In order to achieve this, often an intuitive explanation of something precedes a rigorous definition. The first few paragraphs of an article (called the lead) are supposed to provide an accessible summary of the article appropriate to the target audience. Depending on the target audience, it may or may not be appropriate to include any formal details in the lead, and these are often put into a dedicated section of the article. If you believe that the article would benefit from having more formal details in the lead, please add them or discuss the matter on the article's talk page.
Why don't mathematics articles include lists of prerequisites?
A wellwritten article should establish its context well enough that it does not need a separate list of prerequisites. Furthermore, directly addressing the reader breaks Wikipedia's encyclopedic tone. If you are unable to determine an article's context and prerequisites, please ask for help on the talk page.
Why are Wikipedia's mathematics articles so hard to read?
We strive to make our articles comprehensive, technically correct and easy to read. Sometimes it is difficult to achieve all three. If you have trouble understanding an article, please post a specific question on the article's talk page.
Why don't math pages rely more on helpful YouTube videos and media coverage of mathematical issues?
Mathematical content of YouTube videos is often unreliable (though some may be useful for pedagogical purposes rather than as references). Media reports are typically sensationalistic. This is why they are generally avoided.
Why is wikipedia lagging behind the rest of the world in not creating an article on τ (2π)?
The notability of τ=2π is not yet established. Neither the mathematics community nor the math education community has responded to the proposed new constant in any notable way. τ=2π does not at this point of time meet the criteria of notability as per Notability or Wikipedia:Notability (numbers). See also Turn (geometry)#Tau proposal.

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Experts in logic, to your attention
Talk:Integer sequence#Definable sequences. Boris Tsirelson (talk) 09:55, 5 February 2018 (UTC)
Proposal at village pump on inline math
Note: There's some weird parsing error that showed up when I added <math> tags in a discussion below. Please go to Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy) and search for "Rfc: Change default <math> to be inline". Trovatore (talk) 02:11, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Please comment on the proposal. Thank you for your attention.Debenben (talk) 23:03, 6 February 2018 (UTC)
Need graph for Bring radical
Could someone with graphing skills please convert this table into a graph? The graph can be seen here (put there by another editor). Thanks. Loraof (talk) 20:47, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Draft:Bivariant theory
There is a deletion discussion that can use the inputs from a third party, at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Draft:Bivariant theory  Taku (talk) 03:12, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
Real number#In physics
What about the "slow motion edit warring" at Real number#In physics? "This approach removes the real number system from its foundational role in physics", really? Boris Tsirelson (talk) 19:11, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
 The paragraph should be rewritten rather than removed. I agree that particular claim is highly dubious. Just because real numbers cannot be represented with exact physical precision does not make them less foundational. A real number is an idealization used for modelling physical phenomena, not something that actually exists in the universe (any more than, say, a "triangle" or "circle" exists). Sławomir Biały (talk) 19:34, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
Controversy at Draft:Walks on ordinals, input sought
I know zero about math academic stuff, so would like to draw the attention of this WP to a draft under review: Draft:Walks on ordinals.
There are allegations that the submitter is attempting to popularize a fringe mathematical theory, which the submitter denies. Could someone more expert take a look at the draft? You can post and sign comments at the top of the draft page itself rather than its Talk, for ease of reading. MatthewVanitas (talk) 22:30, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
 The notation used in the draft for sets is nonstandard and incoherent. Thus it is virtually impossible to understand what the writer is getting at. JRSpriggs (talk) 01:48, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
It is definitely not a "fringe theory", but JR is correct that it's hard to understand from the draft exactly what is being discussed. I think there's a typo in this bit:
 [...] we'll create a sequence [...]
which should read
 [...] we'll create a sequence [...]
If you understand "ladder systems" (which I really ought to, having spent a year in Toronto, but unfortunately I never really sat down and did the work to figure them out), then I think you might be able to make sense of the text, after fixing the typo. I am not sure what the curvy arrows are about, but again, they might make sense to people who know ladder systems. Trovatore (talk) 02:07, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
For reference: ladder systems are defined (among other places) in Section 3 of this paper. Trovatore (talk) 02:17, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Draft:Distributional calculus
Here is another deletion discussion: Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Draft:Distributional calculus.  Taku (talk) 20:42, 13 February 2018 (UTC)
Links to DAB pages, Part II
I'm opening this new section so as not to get in the way of archiving #Links to DAB pages. As before, (1) search for "disam" in the article, (2) mark any problems you have solved as {{done}}, and (3) thanks in advance.
 Zilch (electromagnetism) Done
 Arthur Hobbs (mathematician) Done
 Carlo Somigliana Done
 Lie point symmetry Done
 Alexey Ivakhnenko  DAB remains best option as a page needs to be written (will delink Done)
 Horndeski's theory Done
 Calibrated geometry Done
 Tomio Kubota Done
I hope that within a month I will have found and posted here every maths article which links to a DAB page – and, more importantly, that you experts will have solved those problems for the benefit of our readers. I find 'em, you fix 'em – this is going well. Yrs, Narky Blert (talk) 22:17, 15 February 2018 (UTC)

@Narky Blert: About Arthur Hobbs: the link in the article is to finite mathematics, a disambig page with two entries. The second entry does not link to an article called "finite mathematics," it links to a collection of articles that might correspond to the material in a lowerlevel college math class called Finite Mathematics. This is exactly the sense in which the link in the Hobbs article is meant. No reasonable disambiguation is possible here. JBL (talk) 22:57, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
 Almost agree. Given the other courses listed I would say that while the course may even be titled finite mathematics, it is most likely a discrete mathematics course and I have changed the link accordingly. To be sure about this we would have to look at the syllabus for the course, but it would be very surprising to list a finite math course as described on the DAB page together with these other discrete math courses.Bill Cherowitzo (talk) 23:07, 15 February 2018 (UTC)

 Looked a little more carefully at TAMU offerings. They offer both a Finite Math and a Discrete Math course. While Hobbs did teach an honors section of Finite Math in his first semester there, he was a mainstay of the Discrete Math course, teaching many sections every year. Bill Cherowitzo (talk) 23:26, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
 @Joel B. Lewis and Wcherowi: direct links to DAB pages are errors per WP:INTDAB. User:DPL bot picks them up, and they need to be fixed somehow rather than left hanging. Narky Blert (talk) 23:14, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
 @Wcherowi: "DAB remains best option as a page needs to be written." No it is not, it is a WP:INTDAB error. When I joined WP:DPL, there were something like 38,000 bad links to DAB pages. Determined efforts by that team over the last two years have brought the number down to under 9,000. In 2014, the number was 65,600. Write the goddam article rather than messing us about. Narky Blert (talk) 23:25, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
 Looked a little more carefully at TAMU offerings. They offer both a Finite Math and a Discrete Math course. While Hobbs did teach an honors section of Finite Math in his first semester there, he was a mainstay of the Discrete Math course, teaching many sections every year. Bill Cherowitzo (talk) 23:26, 15 February 2018 (UTC)



 You could write the "goddam article" yourself, of course, if the problem of DAB links is a high priority to you personally. Overall, there is no deadline for fixing these sorts of things, and WIkipedia is a volunteer project in which each editor is free to work on the things that they care about. Links to DAB pages may not be a very high priority for all editors. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:40, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
 Strongly agree: WP:IAR is policy, INTDAB is guideline. For some pages, links to disambig pages are going to be the best option at a given moment in time, and being rude about that is completely ridiculous. JBL (talk) 23:53, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
 I don't think anyone here is saying that the problem should never be fixed, of course. Just that, as a matter of priorities, it may not be an emergency that requires urgent action. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:00, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
 "DAB remains best option as a page needs to be written." I didn't write an article, because I know nothing whatsoever about the topic, and I learnt nothing from the DAB page. Your move. Narky Blert (talk) 00:20, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
 Don't be an ass. Your move. JBL (talk) 00:30, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
 Freeze, don't move! would be a legal move to me (besides an apology to the highly cooperative community), undoing a move is simply no option. Furthermore, while I consider eliminating obvious ambiguities a highly laudable task, I think that having even marginally relevant inspirations at hand is useful to a casual, curious, rummaging reader. So reducing DABs: yes, total eradication: no. (I feel legitimated by having done quite a few of damb'ings). Purgy (talk) 07:58, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
 Don't be an ass. Your move. JBL (talk) 00:30, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
 "DAB remains best option as a page needs to be written." I didn't write an article, because I know nothing whatsoever about the topic, and I learnt nothing from the DAB page. Your move. Narky Blert (talk) 00:20, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
 I don't think anyone here is saying that the problem should never be fixed, of course. Just that, as a matter of priorities, it may not be an emergency that requires urgent action. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:00, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
 Strongly agree: WP:IAR is policy, INTDAB is guideline. For some pages, links to disambig pages are going to be the best option at a given moment in time, and being rude about that is completely ridiculous. JBL (talk) 23:53, 15 February 2018 (UTC)
 You could write the "goddam article" yourself, of course, if the problem of DAB links is a high priority to you personally. Overall, there is no deadline for fixing these sorts of things, and WIkipedia is a volunteer project in which each editor is free to work on the things that they care about. Links to DAB pages may not be a very high priority for all editors. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:40, 15 February 2018 (UTC)


 (←) Seems to me that information criterion could be redirected to Model selection#Criteria (as each of the kinds of information criteria almost always immediately define themselves in terms of model selection, in our articles at least), and each of the summaries of each of the items at the current disambiguation page would make for a nice start to prosifying the section. These are also only partial title matches, another thing which leans me to removing the disambiguation page entirely. (If you need a hatnote regarding the nonmathematical article at Information Criteria, you can add it. That's a WP:DIFFCAPS though... from what I can tell that might actually be the only real ambiguous object, which is the concept in information technology. Maybe there should be a disambig page, one linking to information criterion (statistics), which itself should be a redirect to the model selection article, and one information criteria (information technology), with the content of Information Criteria.) Izno (talk) 03:20, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
Category:Pseudoconvex minimization has been nominated for discussion
Category:Pseudoconvex minimization and 2 related categories, all of which are within the scope of this WikiProject, has been nominated for deletion. A discussion is taking place to see if it abides with the categorization guidelines. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments at the category's entry on the categories for discussion page. Thank you. BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:51, 16 February 2018 (UTC)
Several MfD discussions
Here are some new MfD discussions that might interest the members of the project.
 Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Draft:Main theorem of elimination theory
 Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Draft:Cyclic algebra
 Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Draft:Discrepancy (algebraic geometry)
 Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Draft:Ring with the approximation property
 Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Draft:Bredon cohomology
— Taku (talk) 09:12, 17 February 2018 (UTC)
One more
— Taku (talk) 07:52, 19 February 2018 (UTC)
Unproductive discussion 


One more:
 Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Popescu's theorem. XOR'easter (talk) 17:12, 19 February 2018 (UTC)