2. What should be the nature of the mathematics part
Wikipedia? I'm asking this because I see it as more or less
a replacement (or even better) as things like Eric Weisstein's
Mathworld or Foldoc. But there the emphasis is on concise
write-ups with formal definitions...
"Concise" is not as valuable here: we have no space limitations,
so we should take as much space as is necessary to clearly
explain something, give examples, and some background as you
suggest. I also think our audience will be more laymen than
that of something like a textbook: after all, the audience of a
textbook is self-selected math students, while we'll be getting
random search hits, so I think it is important for us to explain
and link to context in every article.
However, I think that in order to be usable as a
dictionary (should it be?) the short formal definition should be
near the beginning (or >maybe even always *at* the beginning) and
clearly recognizable as such. So I guess my question is actually
if there should be some kind of rule on this.
I think most articles will end up this way: define, then describe.
How that's done for each subject will be best determined by experts
in that subject, with feedback from the rest of us.
3. A related question is how much redundancy do we
Is "reflexive" going to be explained on every page that uses
its in its definitions, or do we want one small article that
defines it and let all the others link to that (as in Mathworld).
If we do write such an article what should be the title? Should
it simply be "reflexive" or "reflexive binary relation"? I
would say the latter because the term "reflexive" has a higher
chance of having other meanings in other contexts.
Redundancy is not bad per se, but linking to separate articles
makes it easier to give more detail when needed. Titles should be
as clear as necessary--your judgment is as good as anyone's on
that matter. There is lots of discussion about these topics on
Wikipedia already, and some general consensus about several things,
but it would be a bad idea to set up rules to far ahead of time--
we want to see what works first, then edit things based on our
experiences. Once we get the content, that's easy to do.
4. What is the current opinion on using HTML 4 special
I'm using 'mozilla' and it handles them fine. Even text-ased 'lynx'
tries to represent them with normal characters which results often
in a quite readable result. And it would of course be really nice
to have things like subset, and, or, forall, element et cetera.
LOTS of discussion exists here. For a first pass, see "Wiki special
characters". The symbols on that page should work in most browsers
of recent vintage. Mozilla is better than most: IE and NN won't
show you "forall", "subset", and some others. A product like TtH
would be useful, but would shut out Mac owners and possibly others.
Again, use some judgment: if you think you can explain a subject
without needing the special characters, then do so; but if you really
do need them, go ahead--browsers will catch up. If you can get by
with the few extended characters in ISO, then use those directly
instead of HTML entities (such as "not", "times", and
There's lots of discussion about these topics already in
Wikipedia, and your contibutions there would be helpful.