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Contributing to Wikipedia

  1. Feb 28, 2017 #1

    hilbert2

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    Hi,

    I just made my first Wikipedia article, about a somewhat obscure special function that is needed in radiative energy transfer problems where there is a participating medium that absorbs part of the thermal or neutron radiation (I personally need these functions in my engineering PhD research topic): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bickley-Naylor_functions

    Someone immediately seemed to tag the article as too technical - anyone have an idea how to write this kind of Wiki pages so that people don't need an excessive amount of education to get the basic idea? Maybe I should make some graphs or tables of the function values and add them so people can concretely see that it's just another object that takes a real (or complex) number and converts it to another number.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2017 #2

    DrClaude

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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Feb 28, 2017 #3

    hilbert2

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    Thanks, I added an introduction that clarifies the practical significance and contains a reference to a textbook.
     
  5. Feb 28, 2017 #4
    I am glad that the tendency to describe wikipedia as an unacceptable source is reducing.
    I always did like the idea, and they have intelligent staff.
    Pretty much my idea of what the internet was intended to offer
     
  6. Mar 1, 2017 #5

    hilbert2

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    ^ If you're writing something like a master's or PhD thesis, you need to use sources that have gone through quality control by many experts before publishing (peer-reviewed articles or graduate level textbooks). Wikipedia can have incorrect information because anyone can edit it and it's very possible that there are errors that no one has noticed. In an internet forum discussion it's usually an OK source.
     
  7. Mar 4, 2017 #6
    I've edited lots of Wikipedia pages. Eventually, you learn which suggestions will improve your article for most general readers, and which will not. I try and think about the "general reader" who will actually be reading the page rather than the average person on the street when it comes to math and science articles.
     
  8. Mar 4, 2017 #7
    If you are writing a thesis, YOU are the quality control. I've seen enough mistakes in peer reviewed papers that the authors and editors themselves refuse to fix that I no longer regard peer-reviewed papers as better than Wikipedia in science and math. There is an army of science and math Wikipedia editors out there who do a pretty good job fixing the mistakes. The peer-reviewed literature stinks by comparison.

    Of course, the best approach is always consulting many sources rather than trusting any single source. A good Wikipedia article will cite a number of underlying sources, so before relying on its information in any tangible way, those sources should be checked.
     
  9. Mar 10, 2017 #8
    Edit Wikipedia pages just like write thesis:wink:
     
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