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PM Community Guidelines



\title{PlanetMath Community Guidelines - Draft Version}




\section{PM members' rights}

This section has been moved.  A draft of it can be found in the collaboration \texttt{\htmladdnormallink{PM Member  Rights}{}}.

\section{PM Point System}

Due to its length, this section has been moved.  A draft of it can be found in the collaboration \texttt{\htmladdnormallink{PM Point System}{}}.  Potential members of the Content Committee: please pay special attention to the Cash Cow phenomenon at the end of the collaboration article.
\section{Code of Conduct on the PM community}

\item Basically, this spells out the ground rules on how users should
  treat one another, and what actions are to be taken if these rules
  are broken.

\item Rspuzio made a suggestion that we look into ubuntu community code of conduct (link \texttt{\htmladdnormallink{ubuntu community conduct}{}}) for some guidance and adapt some or all of its rules for PM.  Basically, we ask the users to be respectful and considerate of each other.  These include (but not limited to) the following
\item With regard to posting on PlanetMath
\item Try to stay on the subject of mathematics, or things related to PlanetMath
\item When referring to other individuals (persons or entities), be respectful and complimentary.  
\item If you don't have anything good to say, sometimes the best course of action is say nothing.
\item If you do have disagreements and want to discuss it in public, do it in a constructive manner.  Try not to make judgment or use sarcasm in any negative way.  Avoid starting a flame war.
\item With regard to a filing a correction notice to a PlanetMath entry
\item If you have an issue with it, file a correction notice first.  Explain why you have an issue and point out any possible course of action for a solution if you know one.  Be polite and to the point.
\item If the correction is not done to your satisfaction, you may consider filing another correction notice.
\item Try to resolve the issue peacefully with the author of the entry.  You may contact the Content Committee if you are not able to resolve the issue.
\item Or, you may consult the rest of the PlanetMath users for additional input.  Do so in a constructive manner.
\item With regard to writing and maintaining a PlanetMath entry
\item Consider collaborating with others if the task of writing an entry alone is too great
\item Consider filing a request if you do not know the subject matter well enough, but want to see it on PlanetMath 
\item Please do not copy material from other sources, even if such an action is legal; if such practice is discovered, PlanetMath administration may take action to either confiscate or remove the offending entries, and/or issue warnings to offending authors
\item If you would like to fill a pending request or adopt an orphaned/abandoned entry and feel that you do not have adequate knowledge regarding the subject matter, please consult the PM public or the requester for more information first, or
\item Better yet, be considerate and leave the requests and orphaned/abandoned entries alone so others who are more knowledgeable can take care the request/orphaned entry
\item Consider giving up an entry to others either by transferring, orphaning/abandoning, or turning it world-editable, if the task of owning an entry is too great, or there is no time at the moment to take care of filed corrections
\item Please take care of outstanding correction notices in a timely manner.  The PM system will issue nagging email if an outstanding correction notice has not been taken care of for an extended period of time, and will orphan the entry that the correction notice is attached to if no action is taken
\item Please do not keep entries with outstanding correction notices by transferring them back and forth between friends.  If such a practice is discovered, PM administration will confiscate the entries, and issue warnings to offenders.

\section{PM entry content}

\item This spells out what material could be included in PlanetMath, and,
  when specific cases can be spelled out, what should be excluded.

\item The content of a PlanetMath entry material can be roughly broken down into two major categories: \emph{encyclopedic} or \emph{non-encyclopedic}, the second of which is also known as ``commons''.  Below is a list of what material is considered encyclopedic and what is not.

\item Entries that are considered encyclopedic include: 
\item mathematical constructs (things you find in algebra, geometry, etc..., definitions, theorems, etc...) that are well established; 
\item biographies on well-known mathematicians with significant mathematical contributions; biographies of well-known mathematicians without much content will be considered ``non-publishable''; biographies of lesser known mathematicians will be considered ``commons''.
\item mathematics education and pedagogy;
\item recreational mathematics (puzzles, instructional, etc...); 
\item useful and meaningful mathematical tables (tables of values of well-known statistical distributions, etc...), others??
However, the list above is not exhaustive.  It serves to illustrate some of the most common examples of a typical article found in a math encyclopedia.  In some cases, the determination of an entry being encyclopedic may need to involve the Content Committee.

\item It is tempting to say that whatever is not encyclopedic must be non-encyclopedic.  However, this is not quite true, since the content of any entry on PlanetMath should still contain ``some'' amount of mathematics.  Below we look at some examples of non-encyclopedic entries, as well as some that are considered non-PlanetMath.

\item Things that are ``commons'' include, but not exclusively, the following:

\item mathematical constructs that are invented by the author and that are not found anywhere else (not well-established).  We may establish a separate place where people can put their personal ideas on PM (and I think this is something we should follow up on... because as far as I know, there is no place on the internet that allows ``amateur" mathematicians to share their personal math   ideas with each other, and PM could be the first one to launch this idea!!)

\item frivolous numerical tables and lists.  A list of numerical evaluations of a function, or successively more accurate approximations of a mathematical constant (pi or e, etc...), which can be easily derived on a spreadsheet, a pocket calculator, or a simple computer program, is considered frivolous, unless sufficient explanations or demonstrations are given in the body of the entry as to its significance.  

A numerical list that is well-known, whose usefulness (pedagogical or whatever else) is clear is not considered a frivolous table.  Some examples of non-frivolous tables or lists are the statistical tables (useful in academia and industry) and a simple multiplication table (useful in teaching and pedagogy).  In the second example, however, the language must be written in such a way as to be age-appropriate.  Another example of a non-frivolous list would be, say, a list of values of some highly non-trivial functions or operations (including cardinalities of some special sets, orders of some special groups or algebras, dimensions of some special geometric constructs, etc...)

\item Personal views of mathematical structures, or mathematics at large.  In order for an entry to be consider encyclopedia-worthy, please avoid, if possible, the usage of ``I'' in the exposition.

\item Other scientific disciplines where math is used.  This is tricky,   because in some instances, the material is ``encyclopedia''-worthy, in some cases ``commons''-worthy, while in others, not even PlanetMath-worthy.  The following example  serves as guideline to the Content Committee: illustrations of applications of diff geometry to physics can be part of the PM encyclopedia, but physics itself should not be even be on PlanetMath (so an entry on Newton's Laws would not be appropriate on PM).  Another example, Boolean algebra, Turing machines, and abstract concepts in database design are part of encyclopedia on PM, but entries describing syntax/history or what not of specific programming languages like C or LISP, etc... or mathematical software packages may be considered ``commons''-worthy, while other programming languages, in particular scripting languages, such as HTML, or description on how to use a scientific calculator or a personal computer are not PM-worthy (they belong to PlanetComputing!)

\item Certain games where mathematics may be used.  Mere description of the games and history of the games is only ``commons''-worthy.  If the mathematics behind the games is described and defined, the material can be considered encyclopedic.

\item Description of specific numbers, or sets of numbers, without substantially mentioning the purpose of these numbers and their relevance to mathematics.
Again, the above list is not exhaustive, and certain entries may need to be determined by the Content Committee on a case-by-case basis.

\item Material that should not be on PlanetMath includes anything that is not mathematical, even if the material ``appears" to contains mathematics.  Some of these items include 

\item certain facts that involve numbers: dates and times, numbering of musical works, numerical codes used by various industries, etc...

\item history, geography, literature; pop culture phenomena; biographies of non-mathematicians; autobiographies.

\item Ads or commercials selling particular products or services (even if they are mathematical); subject matter giving emphasis on the brand name of a commercial product or a licensed programming language for mathematics.

\item Anything that is incidental to the development of PM entries. ``sandboxes'', as well as lists of to-do items on PM, while useful, do not belong as a PlanetMath entry.  There may be other places on PlanetMath where these items can reside (where? maybe an improvement goal for us?).

\item Content containing insults and objectionable language.

\item Scientific disciplines (other than mathematics) where math is used.  This has already been discussed above.

Once more, the list is not exhaustive, but only serve as a guidelines for users.

\section{PM entry standard}

\item This spells out that, given a PM entry, what standard is to be expected from the entry.  First, we discuss what are considered deletable material with respect to the ``standard''.

\item The standard of PM is that any copy-righted or plagiarized material, however mathematics content-worthy it may be, is not permitted.  If such an entry is found, it will be deleted automatically by the Content Committee, with or without notice of the author.

Furthermore, author's right to contribute may be suspended (temporarily or indefinitely for repeat offenders).

\item Duplicate entries are allowed, as long as they illustrate the various aspects of the same thing.  In the case exact or almost-exact duplicates, only one such entry should be kept and the rest deleted.  As to which one will be deleted will be determined by the Content Committee.

\item Given that a PM entry is here to stay, there are two levels of standard that can be expected on such an entry: \emph{publishable} (substantially complete) or \emph{non-publishable} (incomplete).  Below we describe what they mean.

\item Any publishable entry should be written in plain English.  It should be clear, informative, and substantially complete in terms of its exposition.  Entries including unfamiliar concepts should contain examples (or counterexamples), illustrations, and in particular, references.

\item Non-publishable entries are any entries that are deemed \textit{not} publishable, either by the author of the entry, or by the Content Committee.  Some specific types of non-publishable entries are listed below.

\item One-line entries are not publishable.

\item Material that is indicated, implicitly or explicitly, by the author to the effect that the material is not finished or complete is not publishable.  For example, a proof half-finished is not publishable, or an entry that the author intends to finish on another date is not publishable.

\item Entries purposely hidden by the author are not publishable.  This does not include entries with missing cache output.  Entries with missing cache output can be resolved either with re-rendering or a correction notice to the author of the entry.

\item Entries that include too many unexplained concepts, or too many terms that are undefined elsewhere on PlanetMath is not publishable.  The said entry is deemed publishable only when sufficient background is given.  This may mean that additional definitions defined, theorems listed (or proved), etc... and links to the said entry properly set up.

\item If the material is legally copied more or less straight from another source, the entry is considered non-publishable until the material is revised sufficiently to represent the author's own take on the subject matter.

\item Biographical material not containing enough descriptions of the mathematical contributions of the person is not publishable.  For example, a mere mention of a person's involvement in particular areas of mathematics does not constitute ``enough'' descriptions, and is considered not publishable.  What particular contributions, what major results proved by the person should be mentioned.

\item Entries with severe stylistic problems.  See the section on PM Entry Style for more detail.
This list is by no means exhaustive, more may be included later.  In some cases, the ContentCommittee will decide on the publishability of an entry.

\section{PM entry style}

\item This section spells out some stylistic issues that users should keep in mind when writing an entry.
\item Unless it is impossible to do otherwise, the entry should not be too short.
\item If the entry contains a footnote, it should be such that the entry does not contain a substantially large blank space between the main content and the footnote.
\item The entry should not be overly length as to render the entry difficult to open or hard to read.
\item Proper use of LaTeX is always recommended so as to avoid unrecognizable formulas, unreadable tables, etc...
\item If possible, immediately relevant facts should be mentioned in a single entry.  This is especially desirable if the entry is short.  For example, an entry containing a short paragraph defining something, coupled with another paragraph giving examples is better than having just one paragraph of definition(s).  As another example, lists of math prize winners should be combined with the description of the math prize itself so the reader does not have to go back and forth between pages.
\item In some extreme cases, the style of an entry can render the entry non-publishable, such as the following examples
\item if it takes over a minute to open the entry because of its length
\item if many of the formulas and mathematical expressions are unrecognizable due to inappropriate use of LaTeX
\item The Content Committee can sometimes enforce stylistic issues if it deems such enforcement appropriate.

\section{PM entry requests}

\item This spells out how a request can be made, and the rules and regulations that are related to this item.

\item A requester has some rights over his/her requests.  These rights include deletion of his/her own requests, fulfilling his/her own requests automatically.

\item Any user can fulfill any outstanding request.  However, the requester has the final say as to whether the request has been fulfilled.  The requester will be given a period of time (1-3 months??) to respond to the fulfillment.  During this time period, no points will be awarded to the person fulfilling the request.  Three things can happen:
\item If the requester accepts the fulfillment, full points will be awarded and the request will be deemed fulfilled and be deleted from the request list.   
\item On the other hand, if the requester rejects it, no points will be awarded.  The request will remain on the request list.  However, the alleged fulfilling entry will also remain on PM as a legitimate PM entry unless it is discovered otherwise at a later time.  
\item Finally If the requester does not respond in that time period, the request is deemed fulfilled by default.  The remaining rules follow 4.d.i (item i above).

\section{PM orphaned entries}

\item This spells out what an orphaned entry is and how it is to be treated.

\item Definition of an orphaned entry: 
\item completely orphaned entry - the author has given up his/her ownership on the entry unconditionally.
\item partially orphaned entry - the author is conditionally giving up his/her ownership on the entry.  Here, conditionally means if someone is interested in adopting this orphaned entry, he/she must be given permission from the author to adopt it.

\item If the entry is completely orphaned, anyone can adopt it and the adoption takes effect immediately.

\item If the entry is partially orphaned, anyone who is interested in adopting will seeks permission from the original owner.  The way it works is: a notice will be sent to the original owner of the orphaned entry.  The owner will be given a period of time to respond to the notice.  Three things can happen:
\item If the owner gives the permission, the ownership of the orphaned entry will be transferred to the seeker.
\item If the owner refuses, the entry will remain partially orphaned.
\item If the owner does not respond in the given time frame, the orphaned entry will become completely orphaned.

\item An Entry can become orphaned only in the circumstance when a correction notice is outstanding on the entry for a given period of time.  In this case, however, the entry only becomes partially orphaned.

\item Whenever an orphaned entry is transferred from the original owner to
   the new owner, some of the corresponding points accumulated on the
   entry will be transferred as well.  Here, ``some of the
   corresponding points" could be a fixed number or a fixed percentage
   on the entry.  Also, ``transfer of points" means that if original
   owner loses x points, then x points are gained by the new owner.


\item This section spells out the various offenses and their corresponding consequences, enforceable by the PlanetMath Content Committee.

\item Offenses are usually brought to the attention of the Content Committee via one of the following two channels: direct observation, or complaint email from a user.

\item Offenses are classified by their severity: \emph{minor}, \emph{moderate}, \emph{major}.  Below are the rules for classifying each type of offense.  In the following discussions, an \emph{individual} shall mean a user, a group of users, or any other entity or organization.

\item To each severity type of offense, there corresponds an (administrative) consequence of the same magnitude.  The following table summarizes the three types of consequences, their corresponding severity level and meaning.

severity & consequence & meaning \\
minor & warning & warning issued by \\ && the Content Committee \\
moderate & short term suspension & 30-day suspension \\ && of user rights \\
major & permanent suspension & indefinite suspension \\&& of user rights \\

\item Along with each of the consequence above, there could be a series of other (administrative) consequences that follow.  These consequences include
\item administrative reclassification of an entry
\item administrative confiscation of an object (entry, exposition, etc...)
\item administrative deletion of an object (entry, exposition, etc...)
\item administrative deletion of an offensive post
\item administrative request of an issuance of an apology post from a user who made an offensive post

\item With respect to a given user, a minor offense includes (but not limited to)
\item a first-time offensive or inappropriate post not directing at any individual.  An offensive or inappropriate post at this level includes
\item a post with an implication to start a flame war
\item a post selling a commercial product or service
\item a post containing demoralizing sarcasm, humor, or comment in general (not directed at any individual)

\item a first-time minor harassment, or nuisance.

Harassment on PM includes (but is not necessarily limited to):
\item Filing of frivolous or blatantly repetitious corrections;
\item Self-recommendation to be on the Content Committee;
\item Recommending an entry to the Content Committee before contacting the owner (usually via correction) about problems with the entry;
\item Frivolous recommendations of entries to the Content Committee.

\item any disregard of a Content Committee's request within the given timeframe, including a request to revise/reclassify/delete an entry or object, a request to issue an apology 

\item any actions performed by the Content Committee on behalf of the offending user, including (but not limited to)
\item two reclassifications of an entry by the Content Committee
\item one entry confiscated by the Content Committee

\item three complaint notices received (with regard to the said individual) from the Content Committee within 60 days

\item two notices from the Content Committee with regard to number of non-publishable entries by a user within $6$ months.  Specifically, if a user has
\# of entries & \% or \# of entries & \% of non-publishable \\
& that are & that are at least \\
& non-publishable & $3$ months old \\
$<=50$ & $50\ \%$ & $100$ \\
$>50$ & $25\ \#$ & $70$ \\
then the Content Committee will issue a notice to the owner of the entries.  The Content Committee will do a blanket check of all users' entry stats once every two months.

\item Moderate offenses include (but not limited to)
\item three minor offenses by a user within 60 days
\item first-time plagiarism
\item moderate harassment: first-time offensive post directing at another individual.  Offensive post means a post containing any of the following
\item abusive and foul language
\item threats
\item demoralizing sarcasm, humor, or comment
\item destructive criticisms
\item an entry deleted by the Content Committee, excluding those circumstances involving automatic deletions (see rules on deletions below)

\item Major offenses include (but not limited to)
\item two moderate offenses within 4 months, three major offenses within 12 months, or five moderate offenses within 24 months by a user
\item major harassment: addition of offensive object (including entry) directing at another individual.  The offense types are explained in the previous section,  the only difference here is the object is not a forum post, but a PM entry.
\item entry deletion by the Content Committee as a result of automatic deletions (see rules on deletions below)

\item The counting of offenses is cumulative, even within a single incident.  Minor offenses that are bundled within a moderate offense may be erased once the penalty has been served.  Any minor offense that is over 60 days old may be erased.  Any moderate offense that is over 24 months old may be erased.

\item Rules on Deletions: there are two types of administrative entry deletions:  \emph{unresponsive} and \emph{automatic}.  They are described as follows:
\item unresponsive deletions are entry deletions by the Content Committee with notice of the owner by the Content Committee to delete.  The window of opportunity to delete has expired and the entry has not been deleted by the owner.  These deletions mainly arise from problematic entries due to content or standard.  Unresponsive deletions are considered moderate offenses
\item automatic deletions are entry deletions by the Content Committee without notice of the owner.  These deletions include entries that are of an offensive nature, whether or not directing at an individual.  Automatic deletions are considered major offenses



\item Putting PM Members' Rights to the top of the list (4-10-2007)  --[[CWoo]]
\item Putting the PM Point System to the top of the list; revised 
  the ``entry content" portion of the community guideline; titled 
  the last item on the list to ``governing body..." (4-17-2007)  --[[CWoo]]
\item Revision in Section IV (PM entry content) to expand the list of 
  encyclopedic entry exclusions: ``frivolous numerical tables and lists"
  (6-7-2007) --[[CWoo]]
\item Replaced quotes of the form " " with quotes of the form `` "; added Section VIII (Content Committee) (6-14-2007) --[[Wkbj79]]
\item Added more things to Section VIII (Content Committee); added Section IX (System Upgrades) (6-14-2007) --[[Wkbj79]]
\item Added suggestion about Greek text to Section IX (System Upgrades) (6-14-2007) --[[Wkbj79]]
\item Added question about frivolous recommendations to Section VIII (Content Committee) (6-15-2007) --[[Wkbj79]]
\item Moved the section on Content Committee to the collaboration under PlanetMath Content Committee (6-15-2007) --[[Cwoo]]
\item Partially revised the Point System (6-16-2007) --[[Cwoo]]
\item Moved the Point System to a new collaboration object (6-16-2007) -- [[CWoo]]
\item Substantially revised Changed PM Entry Content Section (6-17-2007) -- [[Cwoo]]
\item Moved Warren's write-up on harassment issues to under the Penalty Section (6-17-2007) --[[Cwoo]]
\item Major revision to PM Entry Standard Section (6-17-2007) --[[CWoo]]
\item Added PM Entry Style Section (6-17-2007) --[[CWoo]]
\item Major revision to Penalties Section (6-17-2007) --[[CWoo]]
\item Major revision to PM Code of Conduct (6-17-2007) --[[CWoo]]
\item Moved the Member's Rights section to a new collaboration object (6-19-2007) --[[CWoo]]
\item Moved System Upgrades section to a new collaboration object - PM Task List (6-20-2007) --[[CWoo]]
\item Included additional item for minor offense (6-30-2007) --[[CWoo]]
\item Added items in Code of Conduct (11-12-2007) --[[CWoo]]