Tricki
a repository of mathematical know-how

Revision of How can I help? from Sun, 26/04/2009 - 10:07

There are a number of different ways that people can help the Tricki. Here is a (possibly incomplete) list.

Write an article. This is the most obvious way. For the Tricki to become a truly useful resource, rather than just a place where one can browse in the hope of finding something interesting, it needs to attain a certain degree of comprehensiveness. And for this it needs many more articles. At this early stage, it is probably better to have an unsatisfactory and/or incomplete article than no article at all, though of course eventually we want good articles on lots and lots of topics.

Significantly change an article. If you read an article and find it unclear, or unsatisfactory in some other way (such as not mentioning an example that clearly ought to be mentioned, or misrepresenting an area of mathematics), then consider changing it to something better.

Add to an incomplete article. Many articles are flagged as incomplete, and it is explained in what way they are incomplete. Consider adding to them.

Create an incomplete article. Suppose you think that a certain technique should be explained in the Tricki, but you are unwilling or unable to write a complete article about it. Then you can write an incomplete article. For instance, it might contain just a quick description and one rather simple example. Even an incomplete article can be enough to tell somebody the basic idea, and others can always add to it.

Create a stub. If you think that an article of a particular kind should exist, but do not have time to write even an incomplete version, then you can still create a page with a title, and perhaps a sentence or two explaining what the article should eventually be like. This is particularly useful if you are writing another article and want to link to a nonexistent article. You can if you wish just create a dead link, but a stub is better because once you turn a stub into an article, all the links to it automatically become good links, whereas dead links are in danger of remaining dead even when an appropriate article is written.

Request an article. If you feel that a certain topic should be treated, but are not sure what the article should be called, or even whether the topic should be treated in just one article, then instead of creating a stub or incomplete article, you can visit the "Article requests" section of the forums and explain your idea.

Edit an article. As well as making substantial changes to articles, you can also help the Tricki by editing them: correcting typos and minor mathematical mistakes, fixing broken links, improving the layout, clarifying the wording, and so on.

Comment on an article. If you think that an article should probably be changed but are not quite sure, then another option is to write a comment. This can be done either by directly writing in the comment box at the bottom of the article, or by using the inline comment facility. The latter is easy to use, and recommended for comments that concern specific portions of text rather than the article as a whole.

Categorize an article. Central to the Tricki is of course its content. But almost as important is the way this content is organized. Eventually, we want people to be able to come to the Tricki with any mathematical problem and find useful advice on how to solve it, at least if there are known techniques that could be helpful. Thus, given an article about techniques for solving problems of a certain type, one should always think, "How would a person trying to solve a problem of this type find this article?" If you think that the current set of links and parent articles will not do the job, then you can help by changing them. Having multiple routes to an article is something we like, so usually a change will take the form of adding routes rather than replacing existing routes by new ones. Some articles are not yet categorized at all. Here is a list of uncategorized articles. You can help by shrinking that list.

Contribute to the forums. If you have any suggestions for how to improve the site, we want to hear them. The forums are a good place for making them.