Maths is a precice science(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); ^{*}, but when using maths in the real world most people, including many mathematicians, generally take 'short cuts' which result in specifications of a problem or descriptions of a solution which are strictly incomplete. This has a number of advantages:

I have observed over many years in a number of situations that when non-experts in a field ask a question, some experts are inclined to 'help' the questioner by pointing out shortcomings in the definition of the problem, perceived errors in the assumptions made by the questioner about the context of the problem, or theoretical limits which could apply to any potential solutions.

- it is quicker
- it enables problems and solutions to be described in language which is accessible to non-specialists
- it avoids hiding the essence of a problem or a solution within a cloud of definitions, qualifications and jargon

This seems to be particularly true of this part of this forum. I have noticed on a number of occasions that posters ask a question which is naively and incompletely specified, such as 'I measure the weight of 100 boxes of cereal marked 500g, how do I work out the probablility that the supplier is underfilling the boxes' and instead of providing an outline of a null hypothesis and how to use the normal distribution to provide confidence limits, perhaps together with some of the key assumptions and limitations of such an approach, the response is a monologue on Bayesian statistics.

Is this a good thing?

* except of course for statistics which attempts to make precise statements about data which is essentially imprecise

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**

Dismiss Notice

Join Physics Forums Today!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

# Are answers in this part of the forum unneccessarily pedantic?

Loading...

Similar Threads for answers part forum |
---|

I Help with sample size to measure Form Error of a round metal part |

I Advanced problems with answer sheet in statistics |

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**