User:Charles Matthews/WikiProjectMathematics thoughts

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Trying to gather up some thoughts. I think the business of adding topic lists in mathematical subjects has gone a long way towards what would be required. The ideal really is to have everything relevant linked to twice: once from a big list, and once from a classified topic-centred list. In practice there are always some pages not 'found' by the system at all; but the days when there were literally hundreds of such seem to have passed.

Some basic thoughts:

(1) List of theorems: there is now a to do list on Talk:list of theorems. There is of course not a lot of point stating a theorem, if all the terms involved are just red links. The core material here does, however, seem to be much more solid than six months ago; and I feel adding quite a number of famous theorems is now a more interesting way forward.

(2) Wikipedia:Requested articles/mathematics. Quite a respectable turnover there. I have resisted adding large numbers of new requests there myself; better that some of the older ones are dealt with, and very long lists are just off-putting.

(3) Other to do lists. My personal belief is that article pages shouldn't be full of red links (in particular lists); that does depend a bit on the topic. One red link on a page is a fine way to get someone tidy-minded to add a page. I have put a quite extensive list on User:Charles Matthews/red links, which reflects my own interests.

(4) There was some discussion about where to go at Talk:List of mathematical topics. I think it is time to rationalise the coverage of that list, but in a measured way. For example thin out the mathematicians, if they are already at list of mathematicians. It is a bad idea, though, to remove anything not linked to by a more appropriate list. There are some left-over physics and computing and crypto articles from a long time back, that can be removed selectively provided they are linked to from the relevant main list of physics topics, etc. The list charter is still very broad, so I don't think any narrow remit of 'pure' mathematics should be applied. Red links should also be at Wikipedia:Requested articles/mathematics, but removing those without good cause just makes extra work for the future. I think red links to mathematicians could be removed once those are also at RA.

(5) Older articles. Some are three years old, and show their age. I was struck by the unweeded nature of topology, for example. The main mathematics article could do with a long ponder. I'm not happy with the whole treatment of Galois theory: it is misleading in parts, and misses at least one basic notion (normal extension).

(6)'Nice'. I see this used in older articles. It's kind of a guild in-word for mathematicians, and should be replaced. There is a well-behaved discussion to build on.

(7) Overall classification. At a certain point we need to see how we are doing, and work on the logical dependencies/study guide aspect. I mentally compare WP to the Dieudonné classification from time to time; this is not the only aspect though, and leaves out great tracts of mathematics and applications.