Wikipedia math section full of errors

  • Thread starter elfboy
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  • #1
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wikipedia is full of errors
 

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  • #2
Evo
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  • #3
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someone needs to do something about it. People put formulas up with typos and or without testing them. It's frustrating when you can't take anything for granted
 
  • #4
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wikipedia is full of errors
Fix them. Or at least some of them.
 
  • #5
Evo
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someone needs to do something about it. People put formulas up with typos and or without testing them. It's frustrating when you can't take anything for granted
Wikipedia should only be carefully used as a reference about a subject, if you know nothing about a subject, you might find an overview and then some links to books and papers on the subject.

You should not use wikipedia for learning. Wikipedia is often vadalized and erroneous information is posted, some areas are so bad that they have to be locked to prevent changes.
 
  • #6
MysticDude
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wikipedia is full of errors
Well, think about it. If I wanted to I could go into their site and edit everything to be wrong. Plus, why do you think that English teachers don't allow Wikipedia as a source to site? Because anyone can go ahead and edit things to be wrong. There has to be at least one person who will do this just for the heck of it.
 
  • #7
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Shouldn't you be taking this up with the staff of Wikipedia? I don't know how a free encyclopedia is supposed to offer even reasonably accurate information. I'm not sure Wikipedia was ever expected to be so accurate anyway.
 
  • #8
D H
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wikipedia is full of errors
As it stands, that is a baseless accusation. Where? Give us one or two examples. Note well: I am not the world's biggest fan of wikipedia. That said, I am not the world's biggest fan of baseless accusations either.

Even if what you said is true, so what? This site is physicsforums.com, not fix_wikipedia_errors.com.
 
  • #9
Borek
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Full of errors is an exaggeration. It contains errors, no doubts about it. My pH calculation pages - that I have checked, rechecked, rerechecked and corrected errors that were pointed by readers - contain errors as well. There is no such thing as error free source of information. And when compared to other sources, wikipedia isn't that bad.
 
  • #10
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Other than horribly inconsistent notation, I do not think I have noticed any (significant) math errors. It is a lot easier to BS a history article than one on math.
 
  • #11
disregardthat
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But Wiki really kills the book industry.
Does it? In what way do you imagine wikipedia could compensate for books? Wikipedia is not a proper tool for learning; at least to the extent it is, it's not a good one. To put it succinctly, wikipedia is no educator.
 
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  • #12
Evo
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Does it? In what way do you imagine wikipedia could compensate for books? Wikipedia is not a proper tool for learning; at least to the extent it is, it's not a good one. To put it succinctly, wikipedia is no educator.
Sorry Jarle, that was the crackpot sockpuppet of a banned member.
 
  • #13
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try mathworld instead then
 
  • #14
CRGreathouse
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For perspective: Yan's computational number theory textbook (second edition) has an error rate that I would estimate at 30 times that of Wikipedia.
 
  • #15
Borek
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For perspective: Yan's computational number theory textbook (second edition) has an error rate that I would estimate at 30 times that of Wikipedia.
I guess that's because wiki is checked by hundreds of people, most of which have a reasonable knowledge and can spot and correct mistakes, while books rely on small (often too small) number of people editing them.

Actually it just dawned on me that it is an interesting problem. Users that edit wikipedia can be classified as members of several groups - some of them know what they are doing (and their contributions are valuable), some of them think they know what they are doing (that is, their intentions are good, but the effect is not), some of them are there to simply vandalize. Number of errors can be described by some dynamical equilibrium between actions of those three groups.
 
  • #16
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All you need to do is read one of the .9999… = 1 denial threads in the math section of this forum to know where that equilibrium lies.
 
  • #17
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For perspective: Yan's computational number theory textbook (second edition) has an error rate that I would estimate at 30 times that of Wikipedia.
Is this a good time to plug my website?
http://www.erratapage.com" [Broken]
 
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  • #18
CRGreathouse
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http://www.erratapage.com" [Broken]
I've wanted to write a site that tracked errata but never got around to it. Nice show.
 
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  • #19
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I guess that's because wiki is checked by hundreds of people, most of which have a reasonable knowledge and can spot and correct mistakes, while books rely on small (often too small) number of people editing them.

Actually it just dawned on me that it is an interesting problem. Users that edit wikipedia can be classified as members of several groups - some of them know what they are doing (and their contributions are valuable), some of them think they know what they are doing (that is, their intentions are good, but the effect is not), some of them are there to simply vandalize. Number of errors can be described by some dynamical equilibrium between actions of those three groups.
not to mention that when a professor writes a book, he'll sometimes hand over a bunch of the problems to some grad students to solve. :shy:
 

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