This project aims to enable Wikipedians to cooperate, make suggestions and share ideas on the organization and improvement of the mathematics coverage of Wikipedia. Everyone is welcome to join in this endeavor.
Many such suggestions and guidelines have been developed since the project began. A particularly useful collection can be found in the Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Mathematics, which contains a detailed discussion of issues related to writing mathematics articles on Wikipedia.
However, it is important for all of us to remember that these are only suggestions: they should help to give us focus, and inspire our contributions, but no one should feel obliged to follow (or even read) them. This WikiProject is not prescriptive. The suggestions are intended to be helpful for those who are not sure what to write, or how they can contribute, but they should not distract anyone wanting to contribute from our main purpose: to write and improve mathematics articles!
This WikiProject began in 2002 to assist the creation, improvement and organization of articles in the area of mathematics. The initial goals of the project were to provide:
a standard "bare bones" format for mathematical articles
useful links for article writers
a location to discuss issues relating to this section of Wikipedia
standards for mathematical notation using wikified HTML and TeX.
In its broadest terms, mathematics includes its overlaps with physics, computer science, operations research, and other areas. However, there are now separate WikiProjects in many of these areas, and so the focus of WikiProject Mathematics has shifted towards articles which are primarily mathematical (although it still includes many aspects of theoretical physics, for example).
When contributing new articles which are (even only remotely) related to mathematics (including biographies of mathematicians, and so on), please add at least an approximate mathematical category. This enables us to identify, and hence review and add to (or mercilessly savage!), each other's contributions.
The main issues for the project are now probably the following ones:
Bringing stubs up to a reasonable standard. There are always plenty of pages that are definition-only. We need to add motivation and examples.
Developing important articles into good expositions. As anyone who teaches the subject knows, the gap between stating some true facts, and really putting over a topic, is quite large. Here we can consider also the need to add history and proper attributions.
Expanding coverage to bring the subject up-to-date. This is a huge task, so the main requirements are patience and determination. In particular, a lot of work is still needed to bring the more advanced material up-to-date, so expert contributions are to be encouraged.
Keeping track of all relevant articles, by listing, categorising, and assessing them. As mentioned above, it is important to add even an approximate category to each mathematical article. There is also a subproject whose aim is to assess the broad field, and the importance and quality of our articles. Anyone can contribute to this task by adding or updating ((maths rating)) templates on article talk pages.
Identifying pseudo-mathematics, hoaxing, and other unattributable material. Most Wikipedians, naturally enough, don't feel qualified to pronounce on articles purporting to be mathematical, so it is up to us to identify crankery, hoaxes, and material with dubious or unverifiable sources. Anything suspect should be reported on the talk page of this page.
Probably the hardest part of writing a mathematical article (actually, any article) is the difficulty of addressing the level of mathematical knowledge on the part of the reader. For example, when writing about a field, do we assume that the reader already knows group theory? A general approach is to start simple, then move toward more abstract and general statements as the article proceeds. The suggestions below are intended to help us achieve this.
When describing a concept in terms of some other concept (for example, explaining rational numbers in terms of integers), be sure to:
add a (prominent) link to the relevant article (in this case, integer) — as with other Wikipedia articles, avoid duplicate links;
if it makes sense, add a very quick (and naive) explanation/description (in this case, "positive or negative whole numbers" might work).
If the relevant article has not been written yet, then create a good stub, and add a mathematical category. This will list the article in several places (for instance on the list of mathematics articles) and there is a reasonable chance that someone will expand on it.
Some terminology varies from author to author in the literature. It is therefore a good idea to check any pre-existing articles related to a topic to see if there is already an established usage. Proposals for changes in usage are always welcome: the talk page of this page is one forum where issues such as this can be raised.
New contributors may find it helpful to spend a bit of time perusing some of the existing content; this should provide some idea of what type of information is already available, and how much detail is appropriate in a Wikipedia mathematics article.
There is an effort to organize a list of important publications in many areas of science. Such a list captures the major achievements in each field and might be a valuable asset for one trying to learn a new field. The List of important publications in computer science is the oldest and most mature list and might show the goal of the lists. The rest of the list needs many more contributions. Please help improve the mathematics related lists:
The subproject Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics/Wikipedia 1.0 provides a system to assess mathematics articles for their quality and importance, and to classify them broadly by field. This system was originally developed as part of Wikipedia 1.0, and these assessments will be used to help us to determine which articles will appear in the Wikipedia 1.0 CD.
However, article assessments are useful more generally to track the project's progress, identify weak spots in its coverage, and highlight articles which could become Good Articles or Featured Articles. Articles are assessed by placing (or updating) a ((maths rating)) template on the talk page of the article. Furthermore, the template provides an opportunity to add a brief comment on the article suggesting improvements that could be made.
The table above summarizes the current state-of-play. The links in this table point to assessment pages on which articles are listed by field and quality, complete with any comments that editors have made.