Help:FAQ/General questions

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General questions

Where is the proof?!

"I just visited Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (insert your favourite page) expecting to see a proof of this important result. However, despite the theorem being split up into two parts, I didn't find a proof for either of them."

As you can see, each of the two parts has a section heading in blue - it is a link. These links take you to an appropriate sub-page of the main result (e.g. Fundamental Theorem of Calculus/First Part).
The proof(s) of this part of the whole theorem are gathered on this subpage. Similarly, when multiple proofs are present, the headings "Proof N" often are also links, to the sub-page containing only that particular proof.
In this way, every proof (and definition) can be unambiguously referenced internally. This is important, for example, when establishing certain definitions are equivalent - we wouldn't want the proof of that to depend on its result. Thus, there is seen to be a need to be able to refer to a particular proof of a theorem. --Lord_Farin (talk) 12:25, 26 January 2013 (UTC)


I don't like the notation

"On such-and-such a page I found that the notation did not match the style I prefer. So I changed it to the correct form, but then when I returned to the page, I found that my changes had been undone. Why is that?"

The world turns, life evolves, continents crumble to dust, and mathematicians occasionally devise notation which is considered an improvement over that which was originally invented.
It will forever be the case that there is more than one style of notation to illustrate a concept. The people who are familiar with notation A are going to complain if we use notation B, and those who grew up with notation B are going to be upset with our decision to use notation A. You can't please everyone.
Hence we choose a particular style, and we insist that all pages adhere to that particular style. This causes controversy, as followers of a particular symbol which has been turned down in favour of another, usually more modern, one which (in general) is less prone to ambiguity are going to be more or less offended.
If you believe that your preferred notation for a particular concept is superior to that which we have chosen, please feel free to communicate your reasons. However, please note that we ourselves at $\mathsf{Pr} \infty \mathsf{fWiki}$ often have good reasons for choosing a particular aspect of the house style of notation (in particular, we take care to select a notation which is first and foremost unambiguous). It is time-consuming and tedious to change, so unless there are good reasons to do so, we would prefer not. --prime mover (talk) 20:11, 30 December 2012 (UTC)


What's the point of the Mathematicians page?

"The name of this wiki is ProofWiki. Thus I wonder if it is really necessary for this wiki to take on a huge historical task? Does it have a realistic chance to do a good job? At this moment the lists are far from complete, but it is hard to expect good results. Others are doing it already. Perhaps any historian can support other, more history oriented projects. It'll be hard to outdo them anyway."

A good question to which the only answer is "because I like it." If you really want the mathematicians page to be removed because it doesn't suit your idea of what this site ought to be, or that you want me to stop wasting my time on it and concentrate on what you think I ought to be working on (please provide a work schedule that you wish me to adhere to), you'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands. --prime mover (talk) 06:51, 20 December 2012 (UTC)


I sent you an email but you didn't respond in a timely manner

Although in the "Welcome" message on a new user page it says ""if you have any questions please feel free to contact one of the administrators", for matters of site content it is best not to use the "Email this user" tool, as then the following will happen:

  1. there is no record of your message on $\mathsf{Pr} \infty \mathsf{fWiki}$ itself, which means nobody else can get the benefit of your question
  2. it may not get answered as external factors can affect the reliability of response
  3. nobody else in the $\mathsf{Pr} \infty \mathsf{fWiki}$ community is able to contribute towards a cogent answer to your question.

It is best to raise questions about the site itself within $\mathsf{Pr} \infty \mathsf{fWiki}$ itself, either on a talk page relevant to your question, or (at last resort, if for some reason you need to discuss a particular point of issue with a specific user) on the user's talk page itself. --prime mover (talk) 05:12, 3 July 2013 (UTC)