the unbearable lightness … (2)

Two brand new math-related blogs on which you can test my survival prediction :

The EMS Committee on Women and Mathematics Weblog “has the purpose to work as a fact-finding unit exposing the problems and supporting the recognition of achievements of women in mathematics. It is directed to take such actions as it deems appropriate to encourage more women to study mathematics at school level, at university level, and at research level, and to support women mathematicians in the academic positions.”

Timothy Gowers now has a blog called Gowers’s webblog and will no doubt soon change his default about page

Gowers’s post What might an expository mathematical wiki be like? addresses the ongoing discussion (mainly at the n-category cafe and the secret blogging seminar ) of the (dis)advantages of a wiki over a blog to communicate mathematics.

I think a wiki is way better at this, but it is also more problematic to maintain (for example, memory-wise). But then, there is the obvious solution : join Wikipedia! Probably it is a much better time-investment to set-up/modify/update a math-related wikipedia page than to use the volatile blog-format when it comes to explaining mathematics…

I admit, Ive never done this myself but instead spend (too much) time trying to blog about math I like. By chance, I found this sci.math thread on my previous tertra-lattices post, showing the futility of it all. If only these guys would have left a comment then I might have explained it better.

Since then, Im in a sort of a bloggers’ block.

3 thoughts on “the unbearable lightness … (2)”

  1. Different media for different aims.

    Wikipedia is supposed to be neutral and encyclopaedic. No place for original research, personal opinions nor wishful thinking. It is good when looking for a quick definition, but not when trying to understand something ni depth.
    This “research” wiki would provide a place for such things.

    IMO, a blog is something else. If i want to learn about Kontsevich-Soibelman, I just go to the arXiv and read the paper. If I come here to read about it, that’s because I am interested on your point of view on the subject, the way you consider some points more important and neglect some others. I learn from that, and I consider that this learning is at least as useful as the one I get by reading the paper (though I learn different things in every case).

    The blog post benefits from your thoughts and experience. Wikis benefit of collaboration. A wiki is good for storing loads of information. A blog is good for giving points of view. Both things have their place and their moment.

    The thread on sci.math shows nothing but the fact that some people have mixed up different media sources the wrong way. Also, not everybody find useful same things. But have for sure that some of us find this site useful. Maybe not useful for the same thing you originally had in mind, but useful anyway.

  2. thanks javier,
    – maybe i was trying too hard lately to give ‘objective’ (that is,wikipedia-like) accounts of things (such as the posts on subgroups of the modular groups or mathieu groups and their applications). so maybe I was the one confusing the blog-format with something else…
    – i know i promised to write up notes of my talks last week on M-geometry and ill do that, eventually… (but perhaps, I should just put in on the arXiv…)
    – im still struggling with a way forward with this blog, but one thing your comment clearified is that I should probably follow my gut-feeling. A blog needs a personal touch rather than a clinical account of facts and proofs.

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