Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mathematics/FAQ

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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 self-study
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 down-to-earth 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 well-written 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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