Monday, October 28, 2013

Wikipedia - An Encyclopedia For People Who Already Understand What They Are Looking Up

Let's look at the opening line of the Wikipedia page for Differential Equation: A differential equation is a mathematical equation for an unknown function of one or several variables that relates the values of the function itself and its derivatives of various orders.

My guess is that unless you already know what differential equations are, this is the veriest blither. It offers no value whatsoever to the less-well mathematically versed parent trying to answer a child's "Dad, what's a differential equation do?"

Here's the Stevie version: A differential Equation is one in which the rate of change of something with respect to something else is calculated.

Not rigorous of course. But understandable to just about everyone. The Steviepedia would follow this with: For example, such an equation would let us calculate speed by looking at the rate of change of distance with respect to time.

Later on in the text, once we have covered the extreme basics is the time to start wittering on about functions and derivatives because then the people most likely to be looking this stuff up will be able to follow the fBLEEPing discussion.

I reckon Pea Pod People from Planet Mongo could write better Wikipedia pages than humans do, and they are something I just made up.

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