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References to Wikipedia articles are fairly common on Math Overflow and elsewhere, but I'm one of those people who wonder whether the Wikipedia framework will evolve toward more rather than less useful information at relatively advanced levels of mathematics. There are at the moment approximately 23581 mathematics entries, which of course I haven't read systematically. But my smaller sample has usually left me with some doubts about balance, reliability, thoroughness of entries. Often the coverage is spotty, while the references and links are erratic. Outright falsehoods seem rare compared with skewed or outdated versions of what is known. Obviously it takes considerable effort by individuals to make Wikipedia entries complete, accurate, up-to-date. And will the site itself be sustainable over decades to come?

Over the centuries print encyclopedias of all sizes and shapes have existed, some more useful and reliable than others but all impossible to update continuously. Advanced mathematics has benefited relatively little from these volumes. Commercially published mathematical book series called "encyclopedias" tend to be uneven at best. One series collects monographs on special topics, of varying quality and coverage. So the Internet might promise better things. But many general-reader Wikipedia entries such as biographical sketches are disappointing. Editing is possible, but sometimes the site is the target of those wanting to rewrite history. (I've made only one foray into editing, to correct the common misspelling of our family name in a biographical sketch of my oldest brother's thesis advisor. But I could see other fuzzy parts of that sketch that would be complicated to rewrite in detail.)

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closed as not a real question by Qiaochu Yuan, Steve Huntsman, Charles Siegel, Theo Johnson-Freyd, François G. Dorais Mar 28 '10 at 17:19

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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I'm not entirely sure what the question is here; but have you looked at the nLab? ncatlab.org/nlab/show/HomePage For certain areas of math, it contains much more detailed information than Wikipedia. –  Reid Barton Mar 28 '10 at 15:38
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Discussiony. Though of interest outside of MO, I'm voting to close this. –  Steve Huntsman Mar 28 '10 at 15:54
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This is very much a discussion question; I think it's too subjective for MO. –  Qiaochu Yuan Mar 28 '10 at 15:55
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I can think of several threads which are as subjective and 'discussiony' as this that were not closed. A recent thread about going to the industry after PhD comes to mind. I fail to see how this thread is more subjective and 'discussiony' than the one about which out-of-print books should be republished. –  Idoneal Mar 28 '10 at 18:11
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@Jim: Perhaps you might consider starting a thread about this on the meta board? I don't know whether others would welcome such a discussion there, but I would. –  Kevin H. Lin Mar 28 '10 at 21:27

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