Frequently asked questions

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Registration and content creation

How do I register as a user?

In order to be able to create or edit the pages, you must be a registered user. We welcome all users to register. Unfortunately we have not yet figured out how to set a public registration page and at the same time avoid spammers. So right now the only way to register is by sending an email to one of the administrators: Nestor Guillen, Ray Yang, Russell Schwab or Luis Silvestre.

How do I edit a page?

There is an edit button on the top that lets you edit each page. You only see it if you are a registered user.

How do I create a new page?

Every time a non existent page is referenced, the link appears red. If you click the red link, you will edit the new page. You need to be a registered user to perform this action.

Where can I learn how to use a wiki?

Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.

The dispersive wiki has a good FAQ section which may be worth reading first. Everything there applies here as well except their policy on bibliographical references.

How do I write a bibliographical reference?

You can use the website to generate the references from a BibTeX entry.

The website used to provide this service as well but seems to be down.

Look at the pages that are already created as an example of how to make the list of bibliography.

Are there any rules on what we can write?

These are the guidelines:

  1. Do not write anything offensive or derogative.
  2. Avoid using words like outstanding, remarkable, groundbreaking or tour de force when describing a result.
  3. If you think that an article is a triviality or is wrong, it is better not to include it in the citations.

Making a contribution to the wiki is fairly simple and it can take an arbitrarily small amount of time. Most of the articles are currently not perfect. You can add a paragraph here and there if you have little time. Or you can add a new article which just states a result and hope that someone will pick up the rest.

When writing an article, also keep the following priorities in mind.

  1. It has to be easy to read. This is the top priority.
  2. It should be clear what is proved and what is not. But see comment below.
  3. Avoid too much technicalities. If the assumptions of a general result are too complicated, it is ok to just list the major examples.
  4. Give references to the papers where theorems are proved.
  5. Explain the ideas of the proofs when appropriate.
  6. If a result is a nonlocal version of a classical theorem, mention it.

Would a user registration ever be revoked?

Most likely no. Although it could happen if it is used to spam or if one of the guidelines above is grossly disobeyed.

Ok. I registered and want to contribute. What can I do?

Right now, in Current Events there is a to do list. Click on the links and edit the pages. The red links denote that there is a page needed that was not even started.

The organization of the wiki is not fully established. We may need some extra index pages or categories.

There are several pages already. But the wiki is still in a very premature state. Most pages need some more work. The idea of having a wiki is that no version of a page will ever be a final version. However, right now they make that very apparent.

if you don't know how to start, you can use the pages that are already written as a sample.

About the philosophy of the site

Who wrote all this?

The users of the wiki. Several people.

Whom do the pages belong to?


What if I disagree with something that the wiki says?

You are free to edit its content. If you do not, we will be offended with you.

Isn't every wiki doomed to fail?

There are other scientific wiki projects online which can serve as examples: the dispersive wiki, the water wave wiki and also two quantum physics wikis called Qwiki and Quantiki.

The success of a wiki page depends on the contributions made by the users. The current experience with scientific wikis shows a questionable level of success. On the other hand, there are non-scientific wikis which are tremendously successful, for example: the travel guide wiki, the Harry Potter wiki, the recipes wiki, the Star Wars wiki, the Monkey island wiki, the Baseball wiki or the Super Mario wiki, among many others.

It would be interesting to understand this distinction of success between the non-scientific wikis and the scientific ones. Number of users is probably not the decisive factor. The contributions per user tend to be much lower in scientific wikis.

Why should I spend time writing on this wiki?

If you are a mathematician who has done some research in the area, you definitely want people to know about your results. If you write an easy to read reference in this wiki, that would help more people know about your work and how it is related with other results in the area. It is good manners not to overplay the importance of your own results. The appropriate thing to do is to write about all the related results by other people as much as you write about yours. Also remember to follow the rules above in the writing guidelines.

If you are a student learning the subject, writing in this wiki may help you understand the topics better (especially if someone comes after you to correct you). Moreover, if you are learning the subject, you probably appreciate the existence of this wiki more than others and are willing to contribute back.

There is an interesting video about open science here [1]