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Thurston's geometrization conjecture

geometrization conjecture
Type of Math Object: 
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Mathematics Subject Classification

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Haven't we discussed in some previous posts about this issue? In order to keep our entries uniquely ours and to offer new perspectives if possible, and, to avoid potential plagirism, I think we need to re-visit this issue. I still think it is best that entry authors contribute entries based on his/her own words and knowledge. And if I recall, someone suggested that we look at other internet sources, such as wikipedia and math world, only after we have written and submitted the entries.

I am not trying to be critical, I just want PlanetMath to thrive and offer unique and alternative sources to online mathematics for readers at large!

Probably. But notice that you're bringing it up because PrimeFan clearly labelled this as being based on a Wikipedia entry, because it is one that he has never worked on. PrimeFan has taken some articles of which he has been the starting and principal author on Wikipedia and copied them over here practically verbatim without comment (I noticed this because I also contribute to Wikipedia). But in this case, he's given us the ability to make this article take on a more PM-flavor to it and we should avail ourselves to that ability.

Well, unless he's principal contributor for Thurston's geometrization conjection on Wikipedia, I have no problem (and in fact I apologize). But otherwise, I still don't think it is a proper thing to do. How would you like it if someone copies your stuff verbatim and publishes it somewhere else as his/her own?

I see your point of enhancing the Wikipedia entry by putting it here. That is wonderful. But we are already doing that, whether consciously or not. It is likely that a lot of entries on Planet Math can be found in Wikipedia or Math World. It is also likely that a lot of these entries on Planet Math are unique in that when you compare like entries on the difference online resouces, you will find a fair amount of differences in content and presentation.

Nevertheless, my point about not copying from other sources should also be stressed (and I am not pointing finger at any individual now). Planet Math should not (and will not) be a duplicate of other online math resources.

This is an interesting string of posts, as this is a topic that I have not thought much about.

If I am not too badly mistaken, PrimeFan added this entry to fill the requests made for such an entry. While I am glad that Thurston's geometrization conjecture has a reference here on PM, I also respect CWoo's and others viewpoints on this. I would hate to see PM get into trouble for copyright infringement or other matters that may come from indiscriminately drawing from sources. Also, I agree that PM should not try to become a carbon copy of some other math source on the web. I know from experience that PM and other similar sites are quite different. Some have resources about certain mathematical topics that others do not, and even when they do have something in common, they tend to have a different flavor to them. I feel that this diversity is important, mainly because people who use these resources to research a mathematical topic can see different expositions and get different things out of them.

One thing that I am very glad that PrimeFan did was make the entry in question world editable. Hopefully, those who are knowledgeable about this topic will edit the entry and give it its own PM-esque flavor.

Finally, something that I would like to point out is that, in the collaboration "New User's Guide" it says:

"As a rule of thumb, if you cannot provide at least a sketch of a given topic without referring to a source, you are probably not yet qualified to write an entry about that topic. Not only is this policy prudent from the legal standpoint, it also makes sense from the point of view of mathematical content....A document written from your own understanding will be much more useful than one that purports to present facts that you yourself do not understand."

I feel that these are very useful guidelines. If you have not read this particular collaboration, I recommend that you do so, even if you are not new to PM. Actually, in my opinion, all of the collaborations make for a good read.

> I would hate to see PM get into trouble for copyright infringement
> or other matters that may come from indiscriminately drawing from
> sources.

In the case of Wilkipedia, this is not a problem because of the license.

I am in favor of copying works where the copyright situation is OK.

While initially not much might be changed, it is almost inevitable that copied content will acquire its own "PlanetMath-flavor" after not too long.

As an example, early on I copied about 100 entries from the Data Analysis Briefbook, with permission to put them under the GNU FDL. Now most of them bear only a vague resembleance to their initial form. Considerable changes were made for clarity, rigour, removal of mistakes, and simple augmentations.

Also, consider that Wikipedia has copied a considerable amount from PlanetMath. It makes sense for us to "back-port" what we are missing. In fact there is some work ongoing to methodically select the Wikipedia math entries, so that this can be done.

As Ray points out, the copyright situation for the latter could hardly be more optimal.


Here's something that might be interesting. In the
next version of the FDL -- or at least in its draft ---
there is a 'Wiki relicensing'-clause (§8b). This can
be found at

See also:

The idea seems to be that if the FDL'd content
has been produced on a 'system for massive public
collaboration', then users may relicense it under
the GNU Wiki License. However, no draft on this
currently seems to be available.

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