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Talk:Things to do on the OEIS

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Huge records

IMHO, some huge records such as A001622 (the golden ratio φ) or A000040 (the prime numbers) definitely require to be edited and (before that) to establish a "policy" about restrictions of what to allow there. Quality of comments are difficult to judge, but for references/links some rather "clear" policy could be established. I suggest the following, to be discussed here:

  • Allow only links to (well-established (*)) "portals" such as Mathworld, Wikipedia and a specifically created OEIS wiki page, where one would put all the other links and references (cf. next point below)
    (*) an authoritative list of allowed web sites should be established
  • Allow only references to very well established textbooks (say, the first 5-10 (maximum) by number of citations, for example) in the main record on OEIS. An exhaustive list should be put on a dedicated list on the OEIS wiki (where maybe a "reader's guide" and/or classification would be useful/required).

These are just suggestions, any other proposals/comments are not only welcome but (politely) requested. M. F. Hasler 14:53, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Reply from N. J. A. Sloane, Feb 24 2014:
    • The primary use of the OEIS is for finding out information about a sequence one is interested in. Except in a very few cases (such as the primes), the more references one has, the better. I'm basically opposed to removing any references or links from any sequence.
I do agree completely (with this and the next two). In fact my proposal should be seen as a possibility to give more links and references and avoid the (wish or need for) removal of (maybe obscure,...) references. M. F. Hasler 05:33, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    • In the past it has happened that an obscure reference that I have dug up for a sequence has been deleted by an editor on the grounds that it could not possibly have anything to do with the sequence (written, of course, without the editor having seen the reference).
    • Old references, obscure references, applications in unrelated areas, are all important and should be encouraged.
    • Having said that, I agree with Maximilian that for the few really big entries, we need to do something. One simple solution would be to add a star to the references and links that are of fundamental importance. Or to add (Basic reference) after the reference or link.
    • I don't think we need to give extra weight to Wikipedia links, for two reasons: people go there anyway, and the entries are usually not reliable (hopefully that will change over the next twenty-five years).
I agree partially, IMHO the main interest in WP is that (esp. for nontrivial mathematics related pages) you can find (more and more often) serious references (to peer-reviewed articles, textbooks...) in addition to truly useful links (e.g. almost all MathWorld pages are linked to on the corresponding WP page, many math-related material on WP is b.t.w. "copied" from MathWorld and should thus not that wrong...). Overall I think the quality is not so bad, although the style of presentation is often too much "popularized". If I see something wrong, I fix it and/or leave a comment on the talk page, hoping that it will remain correct in the future. M. F. Hasler 05:33, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
I do think that something needs to be done about large entries. So far I have limited myself to pruning: removing links to duplicate content and removing dead links unless they have special value (some may). More effort, but also more valuable, is to look through the formulas and remove duplicates.
Certainly I agree here: "Old references, obscure references, applications in unrelated areas, are all important and should be encouraged". Actually I have a special interest in the first, see historical sequences.
As for apparently-unrelated references, it's best to add a comment when including these. Yes, it helps avoid their deletion, but more importantly it helps readers see the connection.
Charles R Greathouse IV 18:33, 24 February 2014 (UTC)