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Should Wikipedia Allow Mathematical Proofs?

Beetle B. (516615) writes | more than 6 years ago

Math 4

Beetle B. writes "An argument has arisen over whether Wikipedia should allow pages that provide proofs for mathematical theorems (such as this one).

On the one hand, Wikipedia is a useful source of information and people can benefit from these proofs. On the other hand, how does one choose which proofs to include and which not to? Should Wikipedia just become a textbook that teaches mathematics? Should it just state the bare results of theorems and not provide proofs (except as external links)? Or should they take an intermediate approach and formulate a criterion for which proofs to include and which to exclude?"

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4 comments

Wikipedia Censorship (1)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21713060)

More and more content on Wikipedia is banned because of the 'administrators' think it does not belong on Wikipedia. The first time this happened to one of my own articles I realized that the community encyclopedia is killing information. I wonder how long they can maintain this attitude until every editor pukes on them. It is not the hard drive space that one 'extra' article or paragraph costs. It seems that some people want to force others to ignore what information is available on a specific matter.

In my humble opinion if you don't want to read proofs, you will close your eyes. The proof should not be the first thing on a 'floor' page, like any other paper, an 'abstract' will do.

Re:Wikipedia Censorship (1)

starwed (735423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21713154)

To be fair, it's only a nomination for deletion, and I don't think it will succeed on the grounds given.

Re:Wikipedia Censorship (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#21713190)

It is not the hard drive space that one 'extra' article or paragraph costs.

Well, it also reduces the number of name collisions, so fewer arguments about whose james smith gets the #1 spot.
Also when someone becomes famous, and their is already a page, it would discourage writing a article for that.

Re:Wikipedia Censorship (1)

mathimus1863 (1120437) | more than 6 years ago | (#21713372)

As a mathematician, I fully appreciate proofs as defining a deeper level of understanding. Not just knowing something is true, but *why* it's true. The question is more about the audience and whether the information fits the optimal usefulness-to-space ratio. Most people aren't going to read a page about stochastic differential equations unless they are familiar with proofs and could benefit from it. Then wikipedia is fulfilling its purpose by supplying the proofs.

Therefore, when discussing the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm, feel free to include proofs. When explaining the definition of a derivative, it's probably not necessary to prove anything.
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